US Immigration Office Returns Banker Fugitive Back to Indonesia
Ismira Lutfia & Rangga Prakoso
American Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers turned over former Indonesian bank executive Sherny Kojongian Saroha to the Indonesian National Police on Wednesday.
Sherny finally arrived at Soekarno Hatta airport on Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. She looked relaxed and was wearing sun glasses. She was escorted under tight security from police
and officers from the attorney general’s office. She went straight to the AGO
car for corruption suspects without saying a word.
“She will be taken to the AGO office,” spokesman of the AGO, M. Adi Toegarisman, said on Wednesday.
Sherny was convicted in absentia for her role in a massive fraud scheme that cost Indonesia’s government more than $260 million. She fled Indonesia before she was sentenced by the Central Jakarta District Court to 20 years in prison for embezzling state money via the Bank Indonesia Liquidity Credit (KLBI) bailout funds.
“Saroha’s return to Indonesia to face justice is the result of cooperation between US and Indonesian law enforcement authorities,” US Ambassador Scot Marciel said on Wednesday in a statement issued by the US Embassy in Indonesia.
Marciel added that it is also one more example of the deepening cooperation between the United States and Indonesia under the Comprehensive Partnership.
James Ink, regional attache for ICE Homeland Security Investigations Singapore, said the repatriation is a direct result of extraordinary interagency and international cooperation.
“To be clear, we will not allow international boundaries to be barriers to bringing criminal fugitives to justice, nor will we permit the United States to serve as a haven for those seeking to evade prosecution for their crimes,” Ink said.
Sherny originally entered the United States in 1999. In her application with US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) seeking permanent residence, she failed to disclose her prior arrest, the US press release read.
“After receiving a lead in 2009 about Sherny’s possible criminal history, San Francisco-based special agents with ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) initiated a formal investigation. During the ensuing probe, HSI worked closely with ICE’s office in Jakarta to coordinate with Indonesian authorities,” the release said.
In November 2010, ICE took Sherny into custody. Then in July 2011, an immigration judge with the Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review ruled in ICE’s favor and ordered Sherny deported back to Indonesia for failing to be truthful about her employment and arrest history on her immigration applications.
Sherny was repatriated to Indonesia aboard a commercial aircraft escorted by ICE officers. She arrived in Indonesia on Wednesday.
“Sherny, who immigrated to the United States and settled in Northern California, was convicted in Indonesia in 2002 of misusing bank funds and sentenced to 20 years in prison. In addition, the Indonesian court ordered her to pay more than $214 million in restitution,” the release said.
Her conviction came after Bank Harapan Sentosa failed in November 1997. The bank went under despite an advance from Bank Indonesia of more than $260 million.