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Chronology of search for Suharto's wealth

Agence France Presse - December 9, 1998

Jakarta – A brief chronology of the search for the alleged fortune accumulated by former Indonesian strongman Suharto since he stepped down from the presidency on May 21 after 32 years in power.

Critics claimed the search for the alleged fortune – estimated anywhere from four to 40 billion dollars – but denied by Suharto, had been desultory, and mass student protest have been staged almost daily to demand that Suharto be brought to trial.

May 21: Suharto resigns and hands the reins of power to his vice president and protege, B.J. Habibie, who entrusts the attorney general's office with probing the wealth of all past officials, including Suharto.

June 11: An independent group, Indonesian corruption watch, forms a commission to fight for the recovery of Suharto's assets.

June 15: Habibie replaces Attorney General Sujono Atmonogro with three-star general Andi Ghalib. Ghalib pledged to continue the probe, and Suharto hands over four hospitals run by his foundations to the state.

July 1: Ghalib announces the formation of a team from the prosecutors office to probe the foundations linked to Suharto.

July 30: Suharto reliquishes three hospitals run by his charityfoundations and 5.6 million dollars from the foundations, to the government.

Aug 12: Suharto's half-brother Probosutejo says Suharto and his family are prepared to be investigated by the Attorney General.

Sept 1: The government announces that funds from Suharto's charity foundations have been misused.

Sept 6: Suharto goes on National Television to deny allegations that he is wealthy, saying he has nothing but his military and presidential pension, and challenges anyone to find money in foreign accounts.

Sept 11: The Swiss government says it is prepared to cooperate in the search for Suharto's wealth, but only after the proper legal steps have been taken. Sept 15: Ghalib is named to head a special team to probe Suharto's wealth.

Sept 21: Ghalib visits Suharto at his residence to question him on the accumulation of wealth allegations.

Sept 25: Suharto presents himself at the attorney general's office, with a draft letter empowering the state to search foreign banks for his accounts.

Sept 28: Dissident George Aditjondro challenges the Habibie government to seize the Suharto family's overseas assets, which he says include five houses worth up to two million pounds owned by three of Suharto's six children and one half-brother in London, five houses in the United States, several in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, a ranch in New Zealand owned by Suharto's youngest son, a forest concession in Surinam controlled by Suharto's half brother, a luxury cruiser of his youngest son berthed in Darwin and several gas shipping companies of his sons in Singapore.

Oct 14 The Lands ministry announces a move to inventorize province-by-province, all lands and assets held by Suharto, his family and cronies.

Nov 13: Suharto's name is included in an anti-corruption draft law passed by the country's highest legislative body, the People's Consultative Assembly. Seven students are among 13 killed in protests at the assembly.

Nov 15: Ghalib announces he has found 2.6 million dollars in bank accounts in Jakarta under Suharto's name.

Nov 18: The lands ministry announces a series of revelations that it has found more than nine million hectares of forest lands and assets in the names of Suharto, his family and cronies.

Nov 21: Habibie promises an independent commission to probe Suharto's wealth, but the intiative fizzles, when it becomes clear the commission will have no authority.

Nov 25: The government reveals that Suharto has handed over seven foundations he headed, worth some 350 million dollars to the government.

Nov 28: Yohannes Yacob, a legal advisor of Suharto's, warns that if the ex-president is dragged to court, high government figures will be dragged down with him.

Dec 2: Student protestors break through a palace security cordon and demand that legal action be taken against Suharto within three days.

Dec 2: Habibie orders Ghalib to take "legal action" against Suharto.

Dec 3: Ghalib said 23 (3.0 million dollars) were found in banks in Suharto's name

Dec 4: Suharto in a rare interview disputes the accuracy of Ghalib's bank account tally, and says some of his money was earned by renting two Jakarta houses to foreigners.

Dec 5: Ghalib summons Suharto.

Dec 7: Ghalib issues documents showing that over 24 billion rupiah (3.2 million dollars) were found in six banks under Suharto's name and some 400,000 hectares of land in his name.

Dec 9: Suharto submits to over three hours of questioning, accompanied by eight lawyers.