Jakarta. Maria Pauline Lumowa, a fugitive in a major embezzlement case involving more than $200 million in bank loans, was extradited by the Serbian government to Indonesia on Wednesday, 17 years after she was named suspect.
The suspect is scheduled to arrive at the Soekarno-Hatta Airport in Tangerang, Banten, on Thursday morning.
"I am pleased to announce that we have officially concluded the handover procedure of the fugitive, Maria Pauline Lumowa, by the Serbian government," Justice Minister Yasonna Laoly said in a statement on Wednesday evening.
The minister departed to Serbia on Saturday to meet President Alexsandar Vucic and finalize the extradition process.
Maria, 62, was arrested by the Interpol when she visited Serbia in July last year, based on a red notice issued by Indonesian authorities in December 2003, Yasonna said.
"Indonesia has no extradition treaty with Serbia but we engaged in high-level approach to Serbian leaders. Besides, both countries have good relationship, so our request for the extradition was finally granted,” the minister said.
The extradition was a reciprocal action by the Serbian government after Indonesian authorities agreed to extradite data theft convict Nikolo Iliev to Serbia in 2015, he said.
“Maria has tried a legal maneuver to escape her extradition and a European country has also attempted to block the process," Yasonna said without naming the country.
Maria holds dual citizenships, with one of them being Dutch.
She is accused by Indonesian authorities of embezzling loans totaling $136 million and 56 million euros issued by state-owned bank BNI between October 2002 and July 2003.
Indonesian investigators alleged that she had used fake “letter of credit” to get the export loans for mining and plantation company Gramarindo Group, which she co-founded with Adrian Waworuntu.
Adrian has been found guilty of the same case and sentenced to life in prison.
BNI became suspicious in June 2003 and ran an investigation, only to find that Gramarindo Group had never engaged in export sales.
The state bank reported the case to the National Police but Maria had already fled the country. She resided in Singapore in September 2003, a month before police named her corruption suspect.
In 2009, Indonesian authorities learned that she had moved residence to the Netherlands. The government requested her extradition to the Dutch government twice, in 2010 and 2014, but to no avail.
Maria has held the Dutch citizenship since 1979.
According to Yasonna, her adventure ended on July 16 last year, when she was arrested by the Interpol upon arrival at the Nikola Tesla International Airport, Serbia.
"The extradition demonstrates the country’s strong commitment to sending anyone committed to crime in Indonesia to justice,” Yasonna said.