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Indonesian Bank Chief Questioned

June 20, 2000

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) _ Indonesia’s central bank governor emerged from nine hours of questioning by state prosecutors Tuesday, denying involvement in a banking and political scandal.

Bank Indonesia Gov. Sjahril Sabirin is under growing pressure to resign after the attorney general’s office named him as a suspect in the Bank Bali case, which involved an illegal transfer of $80 million from the insolvent bank early last year to a company controlled by a senior official of the then-ruling Golkar party.

The scandal helped defeat a Golkar-backed bid by then President B.J. Habibie to be elected to a new term as head of state.

``I am not involved in the Bank Bali case,″ Sjahril told reporters. ``Until now the case does not affect my work.″

He said he had no intention of quitting and brushed aside speculation that he might face arrest.

He said he was cooperating fully with the investigation and would undergo further questioning on Wednesday.

Sjahril’s identification as a suspect sparked a standoff between him and current President Abdurrahman Wahid, who has asked him to resign.

Under Indonesian law, parliament can only dismiss Sjahril if he is convicted of a crime. The president has no power to fire him.

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