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Indonesian Anti-Corruption Chief Detained in Murder Case

  • Katie Hamann

The head of Indonesia's Anti-Corruption Commission, Antasari Azhar, has been named a suspect in the killing of a high-profile Indonesian businessman. Antasari, who has been praised for steering Indonesia's fight against graft, was questioned by Jakarta police who say he will remain in custody as a suspect.

A love triangle gone awry may result in the end of Antasari Azhar's career as Indonesia's most feared corruption fighter.

The head of the Corruption Eradication Commission, the KPK, has been detained as a suspect in the murder of businessman Nasuradin Zulkarnaen, who was was shot in the head as he left a golf course March 14 in South Jakarta.

Zulkarnaen's family members say he was planning to expose Azhar's affair with a female golf caddy who may also have been involved with Mr. Zulkarnaen.

Azhar has denied the affair and he described the businessman as a personal friend and a valuable corruption informant.

Flanked by his wife and a team of lawyers, Azhar hosted a news conference at his home on Sunday.

"I want to confirm that this is not at all true," he told reporters. "We do not need to argue about this now. There will be a process and time to talk about it."

Azhar's team of lawyers and another analyst have suggested the accusation is part of a campaign to smear him.

Investigations by the KPK into corruption at the Attorney General's office resulted in the jailing of one senior prosecutor last year.

One of Azhar's lawyers, Muhammad Assegaf, expressed confusion at the decision of the Attorney General's office to publicly name his client as a suspect before an announcement was made by the police. He said Azhar had been summoned as a witness.

But after several hours of questioning, Jakarta Police Chief Waryono confirmed that Azhar is a suspect.

Waryono, who goes by one name, said "I can confirm that after interrogating Mr. Azhar as a witness, based on the strong evidence we have so far, we will continue the interrogation of Azhar as a suspect."

In a later interview, a police spokesman said Azhar is accused of masterminding the killing.

Nine people have been arrested in connection with the case, including the owner of a major Indonesian newspaper and a former East Timorese militia member, who is accused of carrying out the shooting.