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Suharto's son withdraws bank suit in 'national interest'

Koyodo - November 12, 1997

Jakarta – Indonesian President Suharto's second son Bambang Trihatmodjo announced Wednesday the withdrawal of a lawsuit against the government over the closure of his bank earlier this month for the sake of "broader national interest."

"After observing the economic situation and conditions and the broader national interest, and after Bank Andromeda's request to pay back the deposits of depositors with our own money had been agreed by Bank Indonesia (the central bank), we withdrew our lawsuit against Finance Minister Mar'ie Muhammad and Bank Indonesia Governor Soedradjat Djiwandono," Bambang told a press conference.

The deposits, he said, will be returned as soon as possible and he promised that all depositors would get their money back.

Bank Andromeda officials said the bank has prepared 60 billion rupiahs (about 26 million U.S. dollars) to pay depositors who had up to 20 million rupiahs in the bank.

The government revoked the licenses of 16 ailing commercial banks, including Bank Andromeda in which Bambang personally held 25% of the shares, on Nov. 1 following an agreement reached with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to restore the country's economic stability.

The central bank has set aside 2.3 trillion rupiahs in taxpayers' money for every depositor who had up to 20 million rupiahs in the closed banks, while the others will be paid 20 million rupiahs for the time being and have the rest of their money returned after sale of the banks' assets.

The central bank said 93.7% of depositors of the closed banks have accounts containing less than 20 million rupiahs, meaning that most depositors will have their savings returned. Reimbursement is scheduled for Thursday.

At the 10-minute press conference, Bambang said there had been no pressure either internal or external to withdraw the lawsuit filed last week.