After countless delays in a case in which Asian Agri Group, owned by the country’s third-richest man, Soekanto Tanoto, allegedly evaded Rp 1.3 trillion ($113 million) in taxes, the Attorney General’s Office announced on Thursday that it would hold a meeting with the tax service to determine whether the matter could finally be brought to court.
“We will hold the meeting on Friday after the noon prayer,” Jasman Panjaitan, the AGO’s spokesperson, told reporters, acknowledging that the case was getting underway “due to mounting media reports alleging that the Attorney General’s Office has hampered the investigation.”
Tax investigators launched the probe in mid-2007, compiling 862 boxes of evidence and eventually naming 14 company employees as suspects for misstating company revenue between 2002 and 2005. The case has been delayed continually, raising fears of political interference.
Asian Agri offered to settle it as a civil matter and pay a fine, but the tax service, seeking to make an example of the company, insisted that it be taken up as a criminal matter. In March, under pressure from lawmakers and the media, the Attorney General’s Office finally agreed to hold a meeting with the tax service, but then appeared to continually delay it.
Mochamad Tjiptardjo, the director for tax investigations and intelligence, said on Thursday that his office was ready to press ahead with the case, although he confessed to being tired of pushing to get the case into court.
“Everybody’s tired, but it’s for the country, so it’s okay,” he said.
Jakarta Globe April 02, 2009 [continues]
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