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Police Question Former Indonesian President in Bribery Probe - 2002-01-11


Police questioned former Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid Friday regarding allegations his aides took bribes.

Mr. Wahid appeared relaxed, and was smiling when he arrived Friday morning at police headquarters. He was called in for questioning about allegations two of his aides took a bribe in October 2000 from Tommy Suharto, a businessman and the son of former President Suharto.

Mr. Wahid originally was to be questioned on Monday, but did not appear, saying he had a previous engagement.

Mr. Suharto alleges that he paid nearly $1.5 million to Mr. Wahid's aides to get a presidential pardon for a graft conviction. Mr. Suharto was convicted of graft and sentenced to 18 months in jail in September 2000.

Talking to reporters after the questioning, Mr. Wahid says he told police he had done nothing wrong. He says that he met with Mr. Suharto in October 2000, but only to say he would not interfere in the court's verdict and sentence.

Earlier Friday, his spokesman, Adhi Massardi, said the former president did not even know the men who allegedly collected the bribe.

Mr. Suharto disappeared in November 2000, shortly after Mr. Wahid turned down his clemency appeal. Police captured him last November.

The Supreme Court overturned his earlier graft conviction, but Mr. Suharto now is being investigated for the murder of the judge who sentenced him to jail, for illegal weapons possession, and for possible involvement in a spate of bombings in Jakarta.

Police also questioned Mr. Wahid's wife, Sinta Nuriya Wahid, and his daughter regarding the corruption case, earlier this week. Both deny involvement in the matter.

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