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Indonesian Police to Question Wahid on Corruption Charges

Indonesian police say they are looking into allegations that former President Abdurrahman Wahid accepted more than $1 million in pay-offs from Tommy Suharto, the son of another former president. Tommy Suharto was arrested last month after spending a year as a fugitive.

Police say they plan to question former president Abdurrahman Wahid after local news media reported that Tommy Suharto paid him more than $1.4 million to remain free.

Mr. Suharto was arrested last week after spending a year on the run. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison last year for his involvement in a land scam that cost the government millions of dollars.

Political observers say Mr. Suharto's disappearance embarrassed the Indonesian government under Mr. Wahid. The failure to capture Mr. Suharto sparked speculation that corrupt members of the police or the military were sheltering him.

Lawyers for Mr. Suharto confirm that he met with Mr. Wahid in a five-star hotel in Jakarta days before he disappeared.

Local media say that meeting resulted in Mr. Suharto making a donation of almost $500,000 to a charity run by Mr. Wahid's wife. A donation of the same amount was made to an Islamic school in East Java. A third payment of almost $500,000 was also made to an associate of Mr. Wahid.

Mr. Suharto's lawyer says his client has receipts for those donations. Former President Wahid issued a statement denying the corruption charges. A spokesman says he is willing to speak to police.

Mr. Wahid led Indonesia for 18 turbulent months between November 1999 until he was removed by Parliament in July and replaced by President Megawati Sukarnoputri. Mr. Wahid was widely respected as a Muslim cleric, but he was seen as an ineffective and unpredictable leader.