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Indonesia court clears Suharto in civil corruption case

[JURIST] An Indonesian court cleared former Indonesian President Haji Mohammed Suharto [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] and his heirs Thursday of civil liability in a corruption case involving state funds allegedly stolen by a charitable foundation run by Suharto. Dismissing the $1.1 billion damage claim leveled against Suharto, the court ordered the foundation to repay $110 million out of $440 million in stolen government funds [JURIST report]. Judge Wahyono said the prosecutors failed to prove the amount of damages they claimed, and that the foundation's board of directors had been responsible for siphoning government funds rather than Suharto himself. Last month, Suharto's six children failed to appear in court [JURIST report] for a hearing, ignoring a court summons [JURIST report] to defend Suharto's estate in the civil corruption case.

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. The Canadian Press has more.

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