By Fransiska Nangoy
June 28, 2017
JAKARTA — Indonesian authorities have imposed a travel ban on tycoon and politician Hary Tanoesoedibjo, who is building resorts to be managed by Trump hotels, over an investigation into allegations he threatened a prosecutor via a text message.
Tanoesoedibjo has been given a 20-day overseas travel ban starting on June 22 based on a request by Indonesian police’s criminal investigation unit Agung Sampurno, a spokesman at the immigration directorate said on Wednesday.
The Indonesian billionaire “is under investigation related to a violation of the information and electronic transactions law,” Sampurno said.
Tanoesoedibjo, whose MNC Group controls businesses ranging from media to property, has been named a suspect for allegedly sending a threatening message to a prosecutor investigating a case involving Mobile 8, a telecommunications company previously owned by MNC Group.
Tanoesoedibjo’s lawyer could not be reached on Wednesday but in an earlier statement dismissed the allegations. “The content of Hary Tanoesoedibjo’s SMS is general and idealistic and does not threaten anyone,” his lawyer Hotman Paris Hutapea said.
Part of Tanoesoedibjo’s text message read: “If I am the leader of this country, then that’s where Indonesia will be changed and cleared of things that are not as they should be,” according to the statement from the lawyer.
Tanoesoedijo has also denied the allegations in media reports. Breaching the law can carry a maximum jail term of four years and a maximum fine of 750 million rupiah ($56,000)
The tycoon, who in the 2014 election ran as a candidate for vice president, founded his own a political party in 2015 and said in January he would decide before the end of next year whether to run in the 2019 presidential election.
He described U.S. President Donald Trump’s victory as inspiring for candidates with little political experience and attended Trump’s innauguration in Washington in January.
His company is currently building two luxury resorts in the island of Bali and in West Java, which would be managed by Trump Hotel Collection.
In an interview with Reuters ahead of Trump’s inauguration, Tanoesoedibjo dismissed concerns by ethics officials that Trump’s overseas business deals might be vulnerable to conflicts of interest.
Tanoesoedibjo also said in February that while his relationship with the U.S. president has been focused on business he could help ties between the nations “if needed”.
Several leaders in Muslim-majority Indonesia have expressed concerns over Trump’s tough immigration stance.
(Reporting by Fransiska Nangoy and Cindy Silviana; Editing by Ed Davies and Michael Perry)
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