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Suharto heirs fail to appear for Indonesia civil corruption case

[JURIST] The six children of former Indonesian President Haji Mohammed Suharto [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] failed to appear in court Tuesday, ignoring a court summons [JURIST report] to defend Suharto's estate in a civil corruption case. Suharto's defense lawyer, who wanted to introduce legal expert testimony on behalf of the heirs, was unable to represent Suharto's children because he was unable to present evidence that the heirs had granted him the power of attorney. The court will issue a second series of summons to Suharto's six children, who will have to make an appearance or waive their rights to defend the estate. Prosecutors are seeking to recover $440 million in diverted state funds [JURIST report] and $1.1 billion in damages from Suharto's estate.

Suharto, who ruled Indonesia from 1967 to 1998, faced government charges that he embezzled $440 million from the Yayasan Supersemar [official website], a state-funded scholarship fund, between 1974 and 1998. He died [JURIST report] in late January. Earlier criminal corruption charges were dropped because Suharto was rendered unable to speak or write [JURIST reports] as a result of several strokes. AFP has more.

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