JAKARTA (JP): Indonesian Ambassador to Australia Wiryono Sastrohandojo saidon Friday extradition of one of Indonesia's most wanted white collar criminals, Hendra Rahardja, would soon take place.
Wiryono said ""strong and clear"" evidence had been gathered against Hendra.
""It won't be long before Hendra is extradited. Right now, Australia is simply taking the proper legal procedures,"" Wiryono told The Jakarta Post by phone from Canberra.
""Hendra's case was to be heard by a Sydney court today (July 16), but I have not yet been informed from the Indonesian Consulate General's office in Sydney about the court hearing.""
Phones went unanswered at the Indonesian Consulate General office and staff residents' homes in Sydney.
The fugitive banker, who made the list of Indonesia's most wanted bankers, was arrested on June 1 by immigration officials at Sydney's international airport. He was apprehended on a warrant from Indonesian authorities circulated through Interpol connections.
Hendra escaped from the country in November 1997, following liquidation of two of his banks: Bank Harapan Sentosa (BHS) and Bank Guna International.
Hendra, believed to have fled first to Singapore when his businesses werewound up at that time, is the brother of Eddy Tansil.
Tansil, who is still at large after bribing warders and walking out of a high-security Cipinang Penitentiary three years ago, was sentenced by a Jakarta court to a 20-year jail term for bank fraud.
Hendra's Indonesian lawyer, Alamsyah Hanafiah, told the Post here on Thursday that due to loopholes in the warrant, Indonesia was powerless to return his client to Jakarta.
""Charges against my client, as described in the warrant, have already been replaced by new rules ... The charges are already out of date,"" he said, adding that he was due to meet his client in Sydney on Wednesday.
He said he had no information about the procedural hearing scheduled for Friday.
""That's the business of Hendra's lawyers in Sydney.""
Wiryono said Australian authorities had received an official request fromthe Indonesian government for the extradition of Hendra.
""The request was made on July 5 or somewhere around that time.""
The formal request was required by Sydney for the procedural hearing of the case.
Had Indonesian authorities failed to meet the July 15 deadline, or 45 days after Hendra's arrest -- the maximum period allowed for Australian authorities to detain a foreigner wanted by his or her country -- Australiacould have deported Hendra to Hong Kong. (ylt/bar)