Jakarta – The Supreme Court has upheld the convictions and life sentences of two key defendants in a major corruption scandal at state-run insurance company Jiwasraya, the Attorney General's Office confirmed on Wednesday.
The ruling means that renowned stockbroker Benny Tjokrosaputro and businessman Heru Hidayat officially begin to serve their jail term for the rest of their life.
Both men were earlier convicted of playing a key role in tricking the state insurer into bad investments that – according to state auditors – had inflicted a total of Rp 16.81 trillion ($1.2 billion) in financial losses to the state.
Benny, the chief executive of investment company Hanson International, is also ordered to return a staggering Rp 6 trillion of the stolen money to the state. He risks seizure of his personal wealth if he fails to repay.
According to court documents, Benny has led "an organized crime" for years to steal money from Jiwasraya and that his actions have "tarnished the reputation of the Indonesian capital market" and "eroded public trust on the insurance industry".
He also forged identification cards to create fake investors, according to his verdict. It said Benny has attempted to launder the ill-gotten money by reinvesting in domestic and overseas assets.
He has engaged in market manipulation with the help of several other people to create artificial appearance of shares and then convinced Jiwasraya that they were worth-buying.
Benny and his accomplices have used illegal means to inflate prices of shares in several companies, including his own Hanson International, mining company SMR Utama, shipping company Trada Alam Minera and several others.
His main partner in crime is Heru, who was the chief commissioner of Trada Alam Minera.
The Jakarta Anti-Corruption Court previously sentenced all six defendants in the case to life last October.
But in the Tuesday's ruling, the Supreme Court commuted the sentences of four other convicts to jail terms between 18 and 20 years each.
"Prosecutors officially imprison the six convicts based on the Supreme Court ruling," AGO spokesman Leonard Simanjuntak said in a statement.
The four other convicts include former Jiwasraya president Hendrismam Rahim; former Jiwasraya finance director Hary Prasetyo; former Jiwasraya investment and finance division head Syahmirwan; and Maxima Integra director Joko Hartono Tirto.
All six convicts were sent to two major penitentiaries in Salemba and Cipinang, Jakarta, the spokesman said.
Graft convicts rarely got the maximum punishment in Indonesian courts.
Before the Jiwasraya trial, only two corruption convicts were sentenced to life, including Adrian Waworuntu during the 2003 trial of a major embezzlement case in a state bank and former Constitutional Court Chief Justice Akil Mochtar who was found guilty in 2014 of taking bribes when handling regional election disputes.
The Jiwasraya case marked the first time in the history of the Indonesian justice system that multiple defendants were sentenced to life in the same corruption case.