Tommy Suharto, right, hands over his tax report to Ken Dwijugiasteadi, director general for taxation at the Ministry of Finance, in September 2016. (SP Photo/Joanito De Saojoao)
Finances of Opposition Leader Prabowo and Other Public Figures Exposed in Paradise Papers
BY : TABITA DIELA
NOVEMBER 06, 2017
Jakarta. Three well-known public figures, including children of the late President Suharto and opposition party leader Prabowo Subianto appear in the Paradise Papers, a global investigation released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, or ICIJ, on Sunday (05/11).
The Paradise Papers put a spotlight on the trillions of dollars moved through offshore tax havens by politicians, business owners, millionaires and powerful people across the globe.
The report exposed 13.4 million leaked documents — obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared with the ICIJ — including loan agreements, financial statements, emails, trust deeds and other paperwork from over nearly 50 years from offshore law firm Appleby, Singaporean company Asiaciti Trust and official business registries in Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Lebanon, Malta, Trinidad and Tobago.
ICIJ highlighted the name of retired general and leader of the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) Prabowo Subianto, as well as two children of the late President Suharto, Hutomo Mandala Putra — also known as Tommy Suharto, head of Humpuss Group — and Siti Hutami Endang Adiningsih for having registered companies in tax havens overseas.
The ICIJ, however, posted a disclaimer on its site, saying that the organization did not intend to suggest or imply that any people or companies included in the ICIJ Offshore Leaks Database have broken the law or acted improperly.
The Jakarta Globe has not independently examined the documents.
"We started [combing through the data] from the beginning of this year. [There are only] 200 Indonesian names and 15 companies," Wahyu Dhyatmika, an editor for Tempo Media Group and an investigative reporter, told the Globe.
Indonesia's Tempo is one of 95 media partners that explored 13.4 million leaked files. According to Wahyu, Tempo paper and magazine will release other names one by one this week.
Wahyu said the Paradise Papers and their predecessor, the Panama Papers, come from different databases, though multiple names appear on both lists.
Wahyu said journalists involved in the report support a fairer tax policy for all.
"Instruments that allow countries to track the wealth of their residents must be prepared," Wahyu said.
Hestu Yoga Saksama, the tax office's spokesperson, said the government will "follow-up with the latest data and information from various sources" including the Paradise Papers, but has refused to comment on Tommy's or Prabowo's companies.
"We can't name a taxpayer specifically to the public," Hestu said, referring to secrecy rules in a 2009 law about general provisions and tax procedures and a 2016 law about tax amnesty.
Hestu, however, noted that the Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) — which will begin operations in September 2018 for Indonesia — will provide more detailed, wider and verified data compared to the independent report obtained by journalists.
Tommy joined Indonesia's tax amnesty program last year. During a press photo opportunity in Jakarta in September 2016, he said his family should "make the best use of the initiative" by joining the program.