Jakarta. The National Police have barred billionaire-turned-politician Hary Tanoesoedibjo from traveling abroad and plan to question him for allegedly threatening an attorney general.
Hary is accused of sending an SMS with a threat to Yulianto, deputy attorney general for special crimes, who is investigating a tax restitution to telecommunications firm Mobile-8 in 2009, during Hary's reign as commissioner in the company.
"There are already [plans to question him] at the beginning of July, after Idul Fitri," National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Rikwanto said on Friday (23/06).
Rikwanto said Harry is charged under Article 29 of the Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE) Law, by which it is a criminal offense to use new technologies to threaten individuals.
A spokesman of the directorate general of immigration at the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, Agung Sampurno, said the immigration office has barred Hary from leaving Indonesia between June 22 and July 12.
"Preventing [Hary] from going abroad is related to a case handled by Bareskrim [the National Police's Criminal Investigation Unit]," Agung told local news site Kompas.com.
Hary dismissed the allegations and said it was never his intention to threaten Yulianto. His lawyer, Hotman Paris Hutapea, said on Friday that Hary's SMS did not contain any threats "that were explicitly addressed to a particular person," but was more an expression of his views.
Hary rose to fame after building a media empire, MNC Group, in the 2000s. He turned to politics in 2011 by joining the National Democratic Party (NasDem) founded by fellow media tycoon Surya Paloh.
After a a disagreement with Surya, Hary joined the Wiranto-led People's Conscience Party (Hanura) in 2013. He quit a year later upon deciding to back Joko "Jokowi" Widodo in the 2014 presidential election. In 2015, he established the Indonesian Unity Party (Perindo).
Hary is a business partner of United States President Donald Trump, in whose rise in politics, he said, he sees an inspiration.
Perindo joined with Prabowo Subianto's the Great Indonesia Movement (Gerindra) Party to support Anies Baswedan in Jakarta's recent gubernatorial election, against the then incumbent, Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, who was backed by the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP).
"We and the public are waiting to see that this prosecution is politically motivated [and supported] by politicians who happen to be close to the current authorities," Hotman said.