Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) spokesman Febri Diansyah said the Indonesian Embassy delivered summonses to the couple's addresses in Singapore. (Antara Photo/Rivan Awal Lingga)

Tycoon Sjamsul Nursalim and Wife Summoned for Questioning in BLBI Bailout Graft Case


JUNE 28, 2019

Jakarta. The national antigraft agency has summoned tycoon Sjamsul Nursalim and his wife Itjih Nursalim for questioning on Friday as suspects in the Bank Indonesia Liquidity Assistance case, a spokesman said.

The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) declared Sjamsul and Itjih graft suspects on June 10 over their alleged involvement in the misappropriation of state funds intended to bail out local banks at the height of the Asian financial crisis in 1997-1998.

The government disbursed Rp 144.5 trillion ($10.7 billion at the current exchange rate) to 48 commercial banks, including Sjamsul's Bank Dagang Nasional Indonesia, under the so-called BLBI scheme.

The Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) later found that 95 percent of the bailout funds had been misappropriated.

The bank, which closed down in 1998, received Rp 28.8 trillion from the scheme and was ordered to pay back Rp 4.8 trillion to the government, but Syafruddin Arsyad Temenggung, in his capacity as chairman of the Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency at the time, issued a letter exonerating Sjamsul from having to pay the remaining balance of Rp 3.7 trillion.

Syafruddin was declared the first suspect in the case after an extended investigation. The Jakarta High Court sentenced him to 15 years in prison and a fine of Rp 1 billion in January for his decision to release Sjamsul from his obligation to compensate the state for the bailout.

The KPK declared Sjamsul and Itjih suspects based on evidence that emerged in Syafruddin's trial.

Investigators believe Sjamsul and Itjih, who reportedly live in Singapore now, had profited to the tune of Rp 4.58 trillion, or caused state losses of the same amount, during the bailout. 

Sutiyoso, head of the State Intelligence Agency (BIN) at the time, declared Sjamsul a fugitive in April 2016. Indonesia does not have an extradition treaty with Singapore.

The couple owns Gajah Tunggal, Indonesia's largest tire manufacturer, and retail group Mitra Adi Perkasa, which owns the local rights for more than 100 international brands, including Starbucks, Burger King, Zahra and Samsonite.

They also own several properties in Singapore through Tuan Sing Holdings.

"BLBI graft suspects S.J.N. [Sjamsul Nursalim] and I.T.N. [Itjih Nursalim were called in for questioning on Friday, June 28. Summonses have been sent to five addresses in Indonesia and four in Singapore," KPK spokesman Febri Diansyah said on Thursday.

He said the Indonesian Embassy delivered the summonses to the couple's addresses in Singapore.

"Besides delivering the KPK summonses, we also asked the embassy to post a copy of the letter on its notice board," Febri added.

He said all the KPK's efforts to summon Sjamsul and Itjih are done in accordance with the law, to eliminate any potential loopholes they may try to exploit.

The KPK earlier said investigators considered charging Sjamsul and Itjih under Indonesia's anti-money laundering law if they failed to attend questioning.