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Indonesia says handover of Suharto money is within reach

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June 17, 2000 


JAKARTA, (AP) - An agreement for ex-President Suharto to surrender millions of dollars in assets taken from the Indonesian state is "within reach," President Abdur Rahman Wahid was quoted as saying.


Friday's Jakarta Post newspaper also quoted Wahid as guaranteeing a pardon for the old leader if Suharto is convicted of corruption.


"I could say now there have been signals that an agreement for Suharto to return state assets he illegally obtained is within reach," Wahid was quoted as saying during an official visit to the Iranian capital of Tehran on Thursday.


Despite denials by Suharto's lawyers in Jakarta in recent days that a deal was in the works, the paper said Wahid maintained that Suharto's family has agreed to the handover pending a presidential guarantee that Suharto will "not be mistreated."


It was not clear how much might be given back.


Suharto, 79, who ruled Indonesia for 32 years and then was forced out amid riots and demonstrations in 1998, denies wrongdoing.


He is under house arrest in Jakarta, where he has been questioned repeatedly in recent weeks despite protests by his relatives that a

series of strokes has left him too ill for interrogation.


Attorney General Marzuki Darusman has said that a case against Suharto will be brought to court by August.


Investigators have located property in the United States and Europe belonging to the Suharto family, the Suara Pembaruan newspaper reported Friday.


The attorney general refused to disclose details, the paper said, since the investigations continue.


Wahid said a deal for Suharto would not protect the former dictator from justice.


"He must follow the legal process anyway," the Post quoted Wahid as saying. "Then I will pardon him if he is found guilty."



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