SBY denies Bank Century meeting
Paper Edition | Page: 2
President Susilo Bambang Yu-dhoyono has denied accusations that a meeting he convened in October 2008 was to discuss the Bank Century bailout and instead accused former Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) chairman Antasari Azhar of suffering from a memory lapse in making the claim.
In a carefully-staged speech at the State Palace on Wednesday evening, Yudhoyono said that the meeting was arranged to discuss what anticipatory measures the government should take to deal with the global economic crisis.
“We gathered for one important objective, anticipating the coming crisis. It was a series of meetings, with the first on Oct. 6. Members of the Cabinet, the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce, economists and the media were present. The second meeting was on Oct. 9 to unite our vision in anticipating the crisis without hesitation,” said Yudhoyono, who donned Muslim garb during the address.
Yudhoyono said that the accusation came at unfortunate moment when Muslims in the country were observing Ramadhan.
The President said that he would provide transcripts, recordings and video footage from the meeting to refute Antasari’s claim.
Yudhoyono said in his closing statement that politicians should resort to noble ways when pursuing their interests.
Antasari claimed that Yudhoyono played a key role in the decision to disburse Rp 6.7 trillion (US$710.2 million) to save the troubled bank.
Antasari recently told Metro TV news that he was asked to join a closed-door meeting chaired by Yudhoyono in 2009 to discuss what measures should be taken to “save the country” from a possible crisis caused by the collapse of Bank Century.
According to Antasari, several senior government officials attended the meeting, including Vice President Boediono, who was then governor of the central bank, former National Police chief Bambang Hendarso Danuri, former attorney general Hendarman Supandji, former coordinating political, legal and security affairs minister Widodo AS, former finance minister Sri Mul-yani Indrawati, former state secretary Hatta Rajasa, former presidential spokesman Andi Mallarangeng and a member of the presidential advisory team, Denny Indrayana, now deputy law and human rights minister.
Antasari said he briefed Yudho-yono on possible legal complications that could arise from a government decision to bail out the ailing bank. Antasari said he could understand the government’s move but warned of possible legal action being brought against the government by those who might deem the bailout a violation of banking law.
Earlier on Wednesday, KPK chairman Abraham Samad said that the anti-graft body would analyze Antasari’s statement and use it as new documentation in its probe into the Bank Century bailout.
“We will use them as input,” he told reporters.