Indonesian watchdog says former Garuda CEO a bribery suspect

Indonesian watchdog says former Garuda CEO a bribery suspect

JAKARTA - Indonesia's anti-corruption agency said on Thursday it was treating the former chief executive of airline PT Garuda Indonesia Tbk as a suspect in a bribery case related to British plane engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce.

Indonesia's Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) said in a statement the CEO of Garuda from 2005 to 2014 was suspected of taking bribes related to the purchase of planes and machines from Rolls-Royce and an aircraft manufacturer.

The KPK did not refer to the CEO by name but, as is its custom, used initials - in this case "ESA".

The CEO of Garuda from 2005 to 2014 was Emirsyah Satar, who is now chairman of Indonesian conglomerate Lippo Group's e-commerce platform

Satar and his assistant did not respond to Reuters' requests for comment. MatahariMall said it supported the legal process in Indonesia, but declined further comment.

The KPK said it found evidence that "ESA" had received 20 billion rupiah ($1.5 million) of cash and items worth $2 million in Singapore and Indonesia from another suspect, "SS".

KPK Chairman Agus Rahardjo said at a news briefing its probe was directed against individuals, and would not affect Garuda's operations.

Garuda's vice president for corporate communication, Benny S. Butarbutar, said the airline would cooperate with the KPK, adding the investigation "has no connection to our corporate activities."

Rolls-Royce agreed to pay authorities more than $800 million to resolve charges of bribing officials in six countries in schemes that lasted more than a decade, the U.S. Justice Department and Britain's Serious Fraud Office said in statements on Tuesday.

Rolls-Royce was not immediately available for comment on Thursday.

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