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Indonesian Authorities to Question Wahid in Bribery Probe - 2002-01-03

Indonesian police want former President Abdurrahman Wahid to appear for questioning in connection with a bribery case involving Tommy Suharto, the son of his predecessor. The Jakarta police want to question former President Wahid over allegations that two of his aides took nearly $1.5 million in bribes from Tommy Suharto.

Police say Tommy Suharto told them he gave the money to Mr. Wahid's aides to get the graft case against him dropped. Tommy Suharto was convicted of graft in a land deal, and sentenced to 18 months in jail in September 2000. The millionaire businessman sought a presidential pardon, which Mr. Wahid refused to grant.

Tommy Suharto is suing the two former presidential aides, who have denied ever receiving any money. Mr. Wahid also denies the allegations. His spokesman says the former president is willing to cooperate with the police, and will appear for questioning Monday.

Jakarta police spokesman Anton Bahrul Alam says that Mr. Wahid's aides had been named as suspects in the case, but it is unclear how close they were to the former president.

Mr. Alam said the two met with Suharto in October 2000. He went on the run a month later to avoid serving his jail sentence.

Police captured Suharto last month. While he was on the run, the Supreme Court overturned his graft conviction. But he now is being investigated for ordering the murder of Supreme Court Judge Syaifuddin Kartasasmita, who was assassinated in July.

Mr. Kartasasmita had issued Mr. Suharto's jail sentence.

Police also are questioning Mr. Suharto over suspected illegal weapons possession and his possible involvement in a series of unexplained bombings in Jakarta.