Beef scandal money trail leads to more women
The Jakarta Post
When the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) summoned lingerie model Vitalia Sesha last week, many expected she would be the last woman connected to the high profile beef scandal.
However, the money laundering charges against Ahmad Fathanah, an aide to former Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) chairman Luthfi Hasan Ishaaq has implicated a bevy of beauties.
Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (PPATK) head Muhammad Yusuf made the shocking announcement on Tuesday that at least 20 women had suspicious financial transactions with Fathanah between 2003 and 2013.
Yusuf said individual transactions ranged between Rp 40 million (US$4,120) to Rp 1 billion.
The agency gave the findings to the KPK before the anti-graft body arrested Fathanah.
Yusuf declined to share the names of the women involved in the transaction or elaborate on the likely motives.
'We only know who was responsible and who received the money,' he told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.
The prosecution of Fathanah grabbed the attention of the public after it was made public that he was arrested in a raid by the KPK in a hotel room with a college student in January. Ahmad allegedly paid her Rp 10 million to be an escort.
Earlier this month, the KPK summoned 43-year-old swimsuit model, singer and actress Khadijah 'Ayu' Azhari, for her alleged ties to Fathanah.
Ayu initially denied she had accepted large sums of money from Fathanah but returned the next day to hand over all the money and gifts she received from him.
Later, the KPK also questioned Vitalia, an adult magazine model, who later showed up at the KPK headquarters to return a car, a luxury watch and money she said Fathanah had given to her.
Not to mention Tri Kurnia Puspita, the dangdut singer, who returned a car and items of jewelry to the KPK.
Just recently, KPK seized Fathanah's Depok, West Java, home, worth Rp 5.8 billion.
The house belonged to Fathanah third wife, Sefti Sanustika, who said that the house was built for her and her baby. KPK investigators also seized jewelry from the retired dangdut singer.
The anti-graft body also summoned Dewi Kirana, another dangdut singer, for a questioning on Monday. Dewi, failed to show up at the KPK building claiming that she had not received the subpoena.
Media reports also said that men's magazine model Kiki Amalia and soap opera actress Novia Wardhana also received cash from Fathanah. The two have denied the allegations.
PPATK deputy chairman Agus Santoso said that transactions involving Fathanah were typical among graft suspects.
'They use relatives and members of their close circle to cover up the [illegal source of] money,' he told the Post on Tuesday.
In a money laundering case implicating former National Traffic Police Corps chief Insp. Gen. Djoko Susilo, the KPK found indications that his polygamous relationships used as a cover for his ill-gotten gains.
Agus said that women in money laundering cases should be aware that they could also be prosecuted.
'They could face five year prison term for accepting illicit assets as stipulated in Article 5 of the 2010 Money Laundering Law,' he said.
Agus said that the punishment could be much harsher; those who helped hide illicit money could face a maximum 20-year prison term under Article 4 of the law.
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