Bayu Marhaenjati, Jakarta – The Jakarta Anti-Corruption Court on Monday found Maria Pauline Lumowa guilty of corruption and money laundering and sentenced her to 18 years behind bars for a major bank embezzlement case back in 2003.
Maria, 62, has moved residencies in other countries since she became suspect nearly 18 years ago until the Serbian government extradited her at Jakarta request last July.
She was accused of embezzling around $200 million after accepting loans from state-owned bank BNI using forged documents.
"The defendant shall get a criminal sentence of 18 years' imprisonment and a fine of Rp 800 million or alternately an additional four months in prison if she fails to pay," Presiding Judge Saifudin Zuhri told the hearing.
In addition, the panel of judges orders her to repay the state Rp 185 billion in damages within a month after her guilty verdict is final and binding.
Otherwise, her personal wealth will be seized by state prosecutors.
"If the defendant's wealth is not enough to repay the debt, she must serve another seven years in prison," the judge said when reading out the verdict.
In response, Maria said she would take a week time to consider an appeal. Prosecutors have demanded a sentence of 20 years in an earlier hearing.
Law officials have said Maria was arrested by the Interpol when she visited Serbia in July last year, based on a red notice issued by Indonesian authorities in December 2003
The extradition was a reciprocal action by the Serbian government after Indonesian authorities agreed to extradite data theft convict Nikolo Iliev to Serbia in 2015.
She was accused by Indonesian authorities of embezzling loans totaling $136 million and 56 million euros issued by BNI between October 2002 and July 2003.
Indonesian investigators alleged that she had used fake "letter of credit" to get the export loans for mining and plantation company Gramarindo Group, which she co-founded with Adrian Waworuntu.
Adrian has been found guilty of the same case and sentenced to life in prison.
BNI became suspicious in June 2003 and ran an investigation, only to find that Gramarindo Group had never engaged in export sales.
The state bank reported the case to the National Police but Maria had already fled the country. She resided in Singapore in September 2003, a month before police named her corruption suspect.
In 2009, Indonesian authorities learned that she had moved residence to the Netherlands. The government requested her extradition to the Dutch government twice, in 2010 and 2014, but to no avail.
Maria has held the Dutch citizenship since 1979.