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Jakarta Post

State Palace denies it was behind Asia Sentinel report

  • Marguerite Afra Sapiie
    Marguerite Afra Sapiie

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, September 19, 2018   /   01:58 pm
State Palace denies it was behind Asia Sentinel report Indonesian Military (TNI) general Moeldoko prepares for a hearing with lawmakers on Aug. 21, 2013, which served as a screening to confirm his nomination as TNI chief. (JP/Wendra Ajistyatama)

The State Palace dismissed suggestions made by the Democratic Party that it was behind a scathing Asia Sentinel article accusing the party and its leader, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, of being involved in the Bank Century case.

The accusation, a senior palace official said, did not make any sense.

The article, based on an investigation report filed with the Mauritian Supreme Court, highlighted the allegation that the Yudhoyono administration had engaged in a “vast criminal conspiracy” to swindle US$12 billion from Indonesian taxpayers and launder it overseas.

The party denied claims made in the article and threatened to sue Asia Sentinel for running the story.

Democratic Party deputy secretary-general Rachland Nashidik took to Twitter to express his suspicion that the palace, under President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's administration, was involved in the publication of the article.

Rachland uploaded a picture featuring Presidential Chief of Staff Moeldoko and Asia Sentinel cofounder Lin Neumann in a group photo onto his Twitter account @RachlanNashidik on Tuesday morning, as he wrote in his post, "Is the State Palace involved in slandering SBY [Yudhoyono]?"

Hours after uploading Moeldoko's picture, Rachland also posted a photo of Jokowi with Neumann, who is also the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) Indonesia managing director, to his Twitter account and mentioned the President's own twitter account.

"Our question is, what is the hidden agenda of the US trade organization when it has ties to Sir Neumann, whose media has been active in slandering @jokowi rival camp in the lead-up to the presidential election?" Rachland wrote.

The Dems back the presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto-Sandiaga Uno ticket for the 2019 election, challenging the reelection of Jokowi, who is running with Muslim cleric Ma'ruf Amin.

Presidential spokesperson Johan Budi dismissed Rachland’s accusations. "The State Palace does not have any interest in Pak SBY [Yudhoyono] and Pak SBY's relationship with Pak Jokowi is good," Johan said.

Meanwhile, Moeldoko explained that the picture was taken during a discussion held between the Executive Office of the President and AmCham in May, on the occasion of which they talked about US investment in Indonesia.

The retired general claimed that he did not know Neumann was also the cofounder of Asia Sentinel.

"I did not even engage in people-to-people communication because of limited time," Moeldoko said, adding that he did not talk to Neumann in person, let alone discuss the Bank Century case. 

"The accusation makes no sense," he added. (ahw)