Former Indonesian tax officer sentenced to 10 years in prison for money laundering

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JAKARTA, INDONESIA: Former Jakarta tax office director Bahasyim Assifie on Wednesday was sentenced to 10 years in prison for money laundering, the latest corruption case involving officials in Indonesia.

Assifie was convicted of corruption and money laundering in relation to over $7 million found in bank accounts in the names of his wife and children. The former tax chief could not prove that the money was not illegal.

Presiding judge Didik Setyo Handono was not convinced by Assifie's claims that the money came from an investment he made abroad as well as from a jewelry business he ran as reported by the Jakarta Globe.

The former tax office director presented statements to support his claims from his alleged business partners from the Philippines and China. The documents said that they engaged in joint business ventures with Assifie.

However, the judge said that the statements were one sided and prepared after the case was prosecuted. Prosecutors recommended a 15-year prison sentence for Assifie last month.

Assifie, 58, was found guilty of collecting millions of dollars through illegal means by misusing his position and authority as a civil servant between 2002 and 2009. The money was deposited in back accounts in the names of his wife, Sri Purwanti, and his daughters, Winda Arum Hapsari and Riandini Resanti.

Assifie said he will appeal the ruling. He became director of tax examinations and investigations in the Jakarta tax office in October 2002. In 2009, he was promoted to the National Development Planning Agency.

Last week, tax officer Gayus Tambunan was sentenced to 7 years in prison for his involvement in bribes that led to his multibillion rupiah wealth. The case was one of Indonesia's most media-covered corruption cases.

However, the 7-year prison term represents less than half of the 20 years that prosecutors were seeking. Gayus, 31, was found guilty of bribing a judge and law enforcements, as well as misusing his authority in accepting tax complaints.

(BNO NEWS )

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