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Mahfud alleges Rp 349t in suspicious transactions in finance ministry

Jakarta Globe - March 20, 2023

Yustinus Paat, Jakarta – In his latest allegation about suspicious transactions in the Finance Ministry, Chief Legal Affairs Minister Mohammad Mahfud MD said on Monday the amount of money involved is bigger than his previous statement after further analysis.

Mahfud now said the anti-money laundering agency has flagged Rp 349 trillion ($22.7 billion) in suspicious transactions in the ministry, a significant increase from the 300 trillion he previously revealed.

The Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center, or PPATK, has analyzed transactions dated back to 2009 related to money laundering in the ministry and provided Mahfud with data.

"I previously mentioned Rp 300 trillion, but a further analysis indicated that the figure is even bigger – Rp 349 trillion in suspicious transactions," Mahfud said in a news conference at his office in Jakarta.

"Stop assuming that there was a corruption scandal worth Rp 349 trillion in the Finance Ministry. We are talking about suspicious transactions which possibly involved outsiders, people who have contacts with ministry officials," he added.

He went on to say that the main issue is money laundering involving share ownership by family members, asset possessions using nominees, or the establishment of shell companies to obtain and manage the proceeds of criminal activities.

In some cases, a huge amount of cash is simply kept in safe deposit boxes.

In an apparent reference to embattled taxman Rafael Alun Trisambodo, Mahfud said a Finance Ministry official formally mentioned a personal wealth of Rp 56 billion in his public filing, but financial analyses indicated that he had laundered Rp 500 billion.

Rafael is currently facing dishonorable dismissal by the ministry for underreporting his wealth and suspected undeclared assets.

"But once again, it's not always related to Finance Ministry officials," Mahfud said.

The minister said earlier he preferred to discuss the issue with the House of Representatives but the much-awaited hearing on Monday has been rescheduled.

House Deputy Speaker Sufmi Dasco Ahmad said the legal affairs committee is expected to receive Mahfud on Friday.

"No serious issue, the main reason is our conflicting schedules," Sufmi told reporters.

The Finance Ministry is under fire after at least four tax and customs officials got exposed for flaunting wealth on social media posts, raising public suspicion about rampant corruption inside the tax and customs directorates.

Source: https://jakartaglobe.id/news/mahfud-alleges-rp-349t-in-suspicious-transactions-in-finance-ministr