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Indonesia lawyers fail to reach settlement in civil corruption lawsuit against Suharto

[JURIST] Indonesian prosecutors announced Tuesday the breakdown of court-ordered settlement negotiations [JURIST report] with lawyers representing former Indonesian President Haji Mohammad Suharto [CNN profile]. Prosecutors will instead proceed in court with the government's civil lawsuit [JURIST report] against Suharto for allegedly embezzling $440 million between 1974 and 1998 from the Yayasan Supersemar, a state-funded academic scholar fund. Indonesian law requires that parties try mediation to resolve civil disputes before courts may proceed with a case. Suharto's lawyer Juan Felix Tampubolon indicated that the negotiations failed because government prosecutors insisted on terms identical with their suit. Government lawyers are seeking to recover the $440 million in state funds, and an additional $1.1 billion in damages.

The civil suit is the latest effort by the Indonesian government to hold Suharto accountable for his 32-year reign, which ended in 1998 after public discontent amid the Asian financial crisis erupted into violent protests. In January, Indonesian Attorney General Abdul Rahman Saleh announced plans to bring the civil action [JURIST report] against Suharto after dropping criminal charges of corruption [JURIST report] because Suharto has been rendered unable to speak or write [JURIST report] as a result of several strokes. Reuters has more.

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