PPATK prepares to probe Wawan’s illicit overseas assets

Haeril Halim, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | National | Mon, February 17 2014, 9:40 AM

The Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (PPATK) has said it will trace illicit assets kept overseas by Tubagus “Wawan” Chaeri Wardana, the younger brother of graft suspect and disgraced Banten Governor Ratu Atut Chosiyah.

“We have received reports from local NGOs regarding the existence of illicit assets overseas. We will look into the reports thoroughly and trace them,” the PPATK’s director of research and investigations, Ivan Yustiavandana, said over the weekend.

Ivan said tracing graft suspects’ illicit assets overseas had been made easier by the partnerships the centre had built with its overseas counterparts.

“Tracing the assets will be simple because we can contact our overseas partners and they will do the legwork for us,” he went on.

Wawan, who has been charged with money laundering by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), allegedly stashed his ill-gotten gains in Indonesia and abroad.

A source within the KPK had earlier said that it had traced assets belonging to Wawan totaling more than Rp 50 billion (US$4.1 million) in the form of land and buildings located in Bali, Banten, Jakarta and West Java. The assets were allegedly tied to his money-laundering activities. Wawan’s other assets include gas stations, apartments, karaoke parlors, yachts and luxury cars.

Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) said that Wawan owned property in Singapore and Australia that may be tied to money laundering.

The antigraft watchdog, therefore, called on the KPK to trace the assets.

“It is very important that the KPK shed light on the alleged illicit assets overseas,” ICW researcher Ade Irawan said on Saturday.

After confiscating dozens of luxury cars from Wawan’s confidants and a number of local councilors in Banten, the KPK confiscated on Thursday a Toyota Vellfire worth Rp 888 million ($75,480) from model Jennifer Dunn who, after questioning on Friday, confirmed that the car had been given to her by Wawan.

Wawan is also alleged to have given gifts to other models, including Catherine Wilson who failed to meet a KPK summons on Friday. Catherine was allegedly given an apartment, an allegation that the KPK has neither confirmed nor rejected.

“We will reschedule her questioning,” KPK spokesman Johan Budi said on Sunday.

The ICW has suggested that recipients of luxury goods paid for with corruption money should also be charged with money laundering.

“They should be charged as passive accomplices if they know a gift was paid for with money gained from corrupt practices; even if they only have a suspicion,” Ade said.

The PPATK said it supported the ICW’s proposal to prosecute recipients of illicit assets.

“Anyone who accepts a gift from someone who is later found guilty of corruption should be aware that there will be legal consequences,” Ivan said.

The KPK, however, has no plans to bring charges against the models in Wawan’s case. “We are still focusing on Wawan and on retrieving the state assets that he allegedly embezzled,” KPK deputy chairman Bambang Widjojanto said.

Wawan’s lawyer, Maqdir Ismail, confirmed that his client owned apartments and houses in Singapore and Australia, adding that the properties had been bought years before he was charged with bribery.

“Pak Wawan has been a wealthy businessman for years. He earned a lot of money from projects he undertook in the past. So, it is quite wrong to assume that all his assets are linked to money laundering,” Maqdir said.


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