Permata May Fight Seizure of Funds
Heru Andriyanto & Muhamad Al Azhari
PT Bank Permata lawyer Luhut Pangaribuan was considering appealing against Monday’s seizure of Rp 546 billion ($53.5 million) from one of the bank’s accounts by prosecutors acting on orders of the Supreme Court, following a ruling by the nation’s highest tribunal that the money were the proceeds of crime and was to be forfeited to the state.
Permata on Monday agreed to release the Rp 546 billion, which the Supreme Court found had originated from the misuse of Bank Indonesia Liquidity Assistance (BLBI) funds in 1999 by convicted businessman Djoko Candra and former central bank Governor Sjahril Sabirin.
After a protracted legal battle, Djoko and Sjahril, who had earlier been acquitted by the Supreme Court, were both convicted on June 11 and sentenced to two years behind bars by a review panel of the court after new evidence was presented by the Attorney General’s Office.
“The bottom line is that we are not happy with [Monday’s] seizure,” Luhut said. “Because of that, we will look into the matter further with a view to taking legal action in the near future.”
Prior to the seizure, Permata had insisted that the funds belonged to it as the Supreme Court had ruled in a 2004 civil case that the money was owned by Bank Bali, which merged with another five lenders in 2002 to form Permata. However, this decision was also overturned by the Supreme Court review panel.
Luhut argued the Supreme Court’s decision in the civil case involving Permata could not be overturned by the decision in the criminal case against Djoko.
“In a situation like this, the decision in the civil case takes precedence. The courts must not deliver overlapping verdicts in civil and criminal cases,” Luhut said.
Herwidayatmo, a director of Permata, one of the country’s biggest lenders, said in a news release on Monday that the seizure would not undermine confidence in the bank, and that it would not lead to liquidity problems.