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Central bank ex-directors banned from leaving Indonesia amid inquiry

December 29, 1997

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) _ Three dismissed central bank directors have been banned from traveling outside Indonesia as an investigation into corruption allegations against them continues, police said Monday.

Maj. Gen. Hamami Nata, commander of the Central Jakarta Police Department, told a news conference the men had been questioned, but not arrested. No charges have been filed.

A lawyer for the trio has identified them as Bank Indonesia’s former foreign exchange director Paul Soetopo; its former banking supervision director Hendrobudiyanto; and its former legal affairs director Heru Soepraptomo.

The three were among four directors dismissed from the bank’s board by President Suharto last week.

Nata said the three were being investigated for the alleged misuse of at least 1.5 million rupiah ($294 million) from Bank Indonesia, which oversees and regulates the country’s banking and financial sector.

News reports alleged that the money was siphoned off to prop up several insolvent banks between 1994 and 1997 without the knowledge of central bank governor Soedradjad Djiwandono.

Bank Indonesia is currently trying to solve a national financial crisis that has shaken the economy and sent the value of the rupiah plunging by about 60 percent against the U.S. dollar this year. The International Monetary Fund, which has put together a dlrs 40 billion rescue package for Indonesia, is working with Bank Indonesia on wide ranging economic reforms.

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