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Suharto's Son Says He Bribed Associates of Former President Wahid

Tommy Suharto says he bribed two associates of Indonesia's former President Abdurrahman Wahid to make his legal problems go away. Mr. Suharto, the son of another former Indonesian president, made the comments in testimony at his trial for the murder of a Supreme Court judge.

Tommy Suharto said he met with Indonesia's former President Abdurrahman Wahid twice to seek a pardon in October, 2000, after he was sentenced to 18 months in prison on corruption charges. Mr. Wahid turned down Mr. Suharto's request. But Mr. Suharto said he later gave $1.7 million to two of Mr. Wahid's associates in exchange for assistance with his legal problems. So far there has been no comment from Mr. Wahid's office about the statements made in Jakarta's central court on Wednesday. Tommy Suharto is the son of former Indonesian President Suharto. He is accused of paying hit men in July 2000 to kill the judge who sentenced him to prison. Mr. Suharto denied he had anything to do with the murder, but said he did meet with the judge once to inquire why his appeal in the graft case had been turned down.

Mr. Suharto said he never ordered the judge's murder. He said his meeting with the judge was friendly. Two men were convicted of the July, 2000, shooting Justice Syafiuddin Kartasasmita. Mr. Suharto is accused of paying them to commit the murder, and of supplying them with weapons. Last year, the Supreme Court overturned Mr. Suharto's corruption conviction. By then he had spent nearly a year as a fugitive, having gone into hiding once he failed to win a presidential pardon. The flamboyant Tommy Suharto is the youngest of former President Suharto's six children. Many Indonesians think the Suharto children used their father's influence to amass illegal fortunes of millions of dollars.