"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."
"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)
.

The headquarters of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) in 
Jakarta. (BeritaSatu Photo)
"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

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Friday, April 22, 2016

BPK Chairman Clarifies His Link With Panama Papers to Tax Office

Jakarta Globe, Dion Bisara, April 16, 2016

Harry said that he set up Sheng Yue in 2010, when he was still a lawmaker in the
House of Representatives, to help with a family business. But, the endeavor was
later cancelled prompting him to disown the company. (Antara Photo/eno Esnir)

Jakarta. Harry Azhar Aziz, head of the Supreme Audit Agency, or BPK, on Friday (15/04) told the tax office he sold his offshore company for one Hong Kong dollar last year, clarifying that he was not using the company to avoid tax.

Harry has been in hot water this week after Tempo magazine unveiled his name as the owner of Sheng Yue International Limited, set up with help of Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. The law firm was the source of the so-called Panama Papers, the largest leaked financial records to date that shed lights on tax scandals among public officials, corporate and the rich and famous across the world.

The Finance Ministry's directorate general of tax summoned Harry on Friday to learn why his name end was on the lists. Harry met President Joko Widodo on Thursday, also to clarify the ownership.

Harry said that he set up Sheng Yue in 2010, when he was still a lawmaker in the House of Representatives, to help with a family business. But, the endeavor was later cancelled prompting him to disown the company.

"The company has no assets. You can say it was a one-dollar paper company," Harry said as quoted by Antaranews.com, after a meeting with tax officials on Friday.

"There has been no transaction and I sold it early in December 2015," he said. He also argued that setting up a paper company is a common practice in the country that allows them, in order to simplify transactions across borders and save costs.

Ken Dwijugiasteadi, the tax director general, said that that his office is still verifying Harry's claim.

"If there are back taxes, I believe he would pay. As a public official he will show a good example to the rest of the citizens," Ken said.

Last week, President Joko instructed tax office to scrutiny every name found in Panama Papers, in order to maximize tax revenue this year.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Merkel Praises Indonesia's Development in Meeting Focused on Education

Jakarta Globe, Eko Prasetyo, April 19, 2016

President Joko Widodo in a discussion with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in
Bundeskanzleramt, Berlin, Germany, Monday (18/04). (State Palace Press Photo/Laily)

Jakarta. German Chancellor Angela Merkel praised Indonesia’s developments and achievements while meeting with President Joko Widodo in Bundeskanzleramt, Berlin, on Monday (18/04).

“It is a challenging duty for a country to develop itself, especially for Indonesia with 250 million citizens and 17,000 islands. I am amazed by Indonesia’s achievements. Surely, we can discuss many issues together,” Merkel said in an official statement.

Prior to the visit, Joko said the two will focus on efforts to increase and strengthen partnerships in vocational education in a number of sectors.

“Indonesia wants Germany to assist vocational education, especially those related to industry, such as power plants, textile, maritime and others,” Joko said.

Both leaders agreed in their meeting to follow up the vocational partnership commitment in a technical meeting in May.

Both countries agreed to complete the "scooping papers," which will accelerate the establishment of a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.

The meeting touched on terrorism and the place of soft and hard power in eradicating the threat, as well as a proposal to establish a Steering Committee to oversee the application of 2012 Indonesia-Germany Comprehensive Partnership.

Germany is Indonesia's top European trading partner and its seventh largest investor.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Why few Americans appear in the Panama Papers

Yahoo –AFP, Jeremy Tordjman, April 8, 2016

Issues of the German daily "Sueddeutsche Zeitung" featuring the "Panama Papers"
 with illustrations by German artist Peter M Hoffmann depicting heads of state
(AFP Photo/Christof Stache)

Washington (AFP) - From Russia to China, and Britain to Iceland, the revelations of the "Panama Papers" have tarnished officials and the wealthy over the implication that they hide riches offshore.

But one group is not there: prominent Americans. US tycoons and politicians are notably absent in the leaked files of the Panama law offices of Mossack Fonseca, which created thousands of shell companies worldwide to hide the identities of their ultimate owners, some of whom may have been evading taxes.

There is Hollywood mogul David Geffen, the Asylum Records and Dreamworks SKG co-founder. But there are no Americans comparable to Iceland's prime minister, or henchmen of the Russian president -- all in the Panama records -- at least in what has been disclosed so far.

"There are a lot of Americans, but they are more like private citizens," said Marina Walker Guevara, deputy director of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists which coordinated the investigation and release of the Panama Papers.

However, that hardly means Americans have fully embraced financial transparency, she told AFP.

"It doesn't show that the US is outside of the offshore system; the US is actually a big player."

The Tax Justice Network's Financial Secrecy Index (AFP Photo/Alain
Bommenel, Jean Michel Cornu)

Other options

One possible reason for their small presence in the Panama documents is that US citizens hoping to hide funds and activities offshore were not drawn to Spanish-speaking Panama as a haven, when there are options like the British Virgin islands and the Cayman Islands.

"Americans have so many tax havens to choose from," said Nicholas Shaxson, author of "Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the Men who Stole the World," a 2011 book on secretive centers for hiding money.

Indeed, Americans do not have to go abroad to hide funds and activities behind anonymous corporations: they can create them at home.

States like Delaware and Wyoming allow the creation of such companies, for just a few hundred dollars, that conceal their ultimate financial beneficiary.

And while US banks are normally required to "know their customers," they can bypass that rule and open accounts for shell companies, ensuring total discretion for someone who wants to move money around quietly.

The US Treasury is moving to stop the practice, which can be used by arms and drug traffickers to launder funds and lands the United States in third in the Tax Justice Network's ranking of the world's least transparent countries, well above Panama.

"We're in the last stages of drafting the final rule," a Treasury official told AFP.

The most popular tax havens (AFP Photo/Laurence Saubadu, Jonathan Jacobsen)

'Very frightened'

But there is another possible reason that Americans are not so visible in the Panama Papers.

Spurred by the need to halt huge, blatant tax evasion by Americans using foreign banks, Washington in recent years has cracked down with lawsuits, arrests and tighter laws that have targeted both the banks offering safe haven and those hiding money in them.

Swiss banks were hit in particular. UBS and Credit Suisse, respectively, had to pay fines of $780 million and $2.6 billion for having helped US citizens hide money.

The result, Shaxson said, is that now "there are a few tax havens around the world that are very frightened of American clients, because they know that the US can hit them."

Nevertheless, the seeming absence of Americans from the Panama Papers has fed conspiracy theories, such as claims the leak of the files was orchestrated by the CIA to destabilize Russia and other countries.

But Walker Guevara said there is still a lot to be examined in the trove of 11.5 million documents that make up the Panama Papers, and there could be more about Americans in there.

"It's a huge trove of documents and maybe there's something hiding there that we haven't found yet. It's a work in progress."


Related Articles:

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Tax Office Wants to See Your Credit Card Bills

Jakarta Globe, Tabita Diela, March 29, 2016

Finance Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro is looking for ways to boost tax revenue.
(Antara Photo/Irfan Anshori)

Jakarta. The tax office seeks to access millions of Indonesian credit card bills as part of its attempt to boost tax revenue and fund the 2016 state budget, Finance Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro told reporters on Tuesday (29/03).

The Directorate General of Taxation revealed its plans to access data on bank customer's savings accounts last year, prompting bankers to retort with protection measures as part of bank secrecy laws passed in 1998.

As a result, the government is in the process of revising regulations that will impose a mandatory requirement for banks to provide customers' credit card bills to the tax office, Bambang added.

At present, the tax office solely relies on taxpayers to file a self-assisted tax return using their tax registration number (NPWP). However, these often lack relevant details and other information the tax office needs to verify whether a would-be taxpayer has indeed paid all taxes.

"Without enough data, we are basically going to war without any weapon. Our weapon is data, but we still need [the requisite authority and] more access to banks and [Communication and Information Technology] Ministry data," Bambang said.

Mind the gap

According to the 2016 state budget, the tax office must collect at least Rp 1,360 trillion ($100 billion) in taxes this year, which is 28 percent higher than last year's tax revenue realization of Rp 1,061 trillion, as the government needs more money to fund more infrastructure projects.

Last year, the government only collected Rp 9 trillion in income tax from 900,000 individual taxpayers. Only 9.8 million of the total of 27,571,471 registered individual taxpayers filed tax returns, when there should be more than 120 million in the population of around 250 million.

Other measures

The tax office has also taken steps to cooperate with the Attorney General's Office (AGO), the State Intelligence Agency (BIN) and the National Police in order to gather information on high net worth individuals.

The tax office also seeks to tighten supervision of Indonesia's growing e-commerce sector, with particular attention to payment of value added tax for each transaction over the Internet.

It has also officially introduced, in January, an online payment system that is expected to boost transparency and eventually replace the current manual method of record keeping.

Not so secret

Meanwhile, Singapore has said it would automatically start sharing information with foreign tax authorities from 2018, in line with an agreement signed by more than 51 countries in 2014 that seeks to put an end to tax evasion. As a result, the days of undisclosed assets held offshore may become a thing of the past.

For local banks in Indonesia and elsewhere, the pressure on Singapore is opening up opportunities at home.

To yield greater payment of taxes in Indonesia, a Tax Amnesty bill is currently being deliberated by the House of Representatives with the hope that money parked in offshore accounts will be repatriated to Indonesia.

Indonesia is Singapore's main source of wealth assets, where some $225 billion is believed to be parked in Singapore alone.

"Indonesia accounts for 30-50 percent of business for private banks in Singapore," a Singapore-based banker at a top global wealth manager told Reuters last year.

Editing by Mika Vaswani

Thursday, March 24, 2016

As Dutch FM Visits Indonesia, Human Rights Dilemma Lingers

Jakarta Globe, Bastiaan Scherpen, March 23, 2016

Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister Bert Koenders. (Reuters Photo/Jacques Brinon)

Jakarta. Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister Bert Koenders is in Indonesia this week to take part in the Bali Process ministerial conference, but he'll also be looking to cement ties in meetings with key ministers. Because even though there has been significant improvement on the trade front — the Netherlands has became one of the most important investors in the archipelago — Indonesia's relationship with its former colonial ruler remains delicate.

Human rights have long been a key element of Dutch foreign policy and with Indonesia having just made headlines internationally over a series of high-profile statements targeting the country’s LGBT community, no end in sight to problemsin Papua and a group of Moluccan political prisoners still behind bars, it will be difficult for Koenders to not speak out one way or another.

Koenders — who hails from the Labor Party (PvdA), just like the former Dutch development cooperation minister Jan Pronk, famous for slamming the Suharto regime in the early 1990s over its rights record — will have to tread a fine line if he doesn't want to undo all the progress made in recent years.

Fragile relationship

Yohanes Sulaiman, an Indonesian expert on international relations, politics and security affairs, says that as far as Jakarta is concerned, ties with the Dutch are “cordial” at the moment.

“There hasn't been any [bilateral] ruckus about human rights lately,” he told the Jakarta Globe, saying things were different not too long ago. “Remember the Leopard tanks?”

The Dutch government in 2012 was forced to cancel the sale of used Leopard 2 main battle tanks to Indonesia after parliament — including the Labor Party, which was in opposition at the time — voted to reject the deal over concerns about the Indonesian Military (TNI)’s track record on human rights. Indonesia then procured the same type of tanks from Germany.

That low in the relationship between the two countries followed the cancellation of a much-anticipated trip by then-president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in 2010. A motion filed by Moluccan activists based in the Netherlands calling for the arrest of the Indonesian leader for alleged human right violations was behind Yudhoyono’s last-minute decision to stay home.

However, under current Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte ties strengthened significantly, especially after an official apology was made in 2013 for a series of massacres carried out by the Dutch military to crush resistance against colonial rule in South Sulawesi after Indonesia's 1945 declaration of independence.

That apology cleared the way for the biggest-ever Dutch trade mission to Indonesia in November 2013, led by Rutte, which now-Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi, who at the time was the Indonesian ambassador to the Netherlands, called "a big success."

After President Joko Widodo took office in 2014 and launched his no-holds-barred anti-drugs campaign, reintroducing executions of drug convicts, Indonesia-Netherlands ties took a plunge, however. Koenders even recalled the ambassador in Jakarta, Rob Swartbol, after Indonesia executed Dutch national Ang Kiem Soei, with Dutch and European Union officials voicing their strong objections to the death penalty.

Foreign direct investment

Rutte, the Dutch PM, is a member of the historically pro-business People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), which wanted to sell the Dutch military’s tanks to Indonesia in 2012 regardless of human rights concerns expressed by opposition parties in parliament. His time at the helm has indeed provided a major boost in Netherlands-Indonesia trade ties.

The Netherlands was the third-biggest investor in Indonesia in the fourth quarter of 2015, data from the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) shows, after Singapore and Hong Kong but beating Asian powerhouses such as China (without Hong Kong), Japan and South Korea.

Dutch companies poured a total of almost $400 million into 174 Indonesian projects in the last three months of the year, the BKPM says.

For the whole year, investment realization from the Netherlands stood at $1.3 billion, the fourth-highest number after Singapore, Malaysia and Japan.

The Netherlands has also played a key role in the National Capital Integrated Coastal Development (NCICD) project, better known as the Jakarta Sea Wall. Koenders was scheduled to visit Pluit in North Jakarta together with the capital’s governor, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, or Ahok, to see for himself what is being done in one of Jakarta's lowest-lying and most flood-prone areas.

'Domestic matters'

Separately on Thursday, Koenders was slated to meet with his counterpart Retno, as well as with the coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs, Luhut Panjaitan — a key aide to Joko and considered by insiders to be one of the most powerful ministers in the cabinet.

In a press statement released before Koenders' trip, the Dutch Foreign Ministry said the main issues on the bilateral agenda would be “geopolitical developments in countries such as Syria, Iraq and Iran,” cooperation to tackle drug-related problems, “the position of Indonesia in Asia,” and the human rights situation in Indonesia — but first and foremost: trade and how to strengthen ties.

The statement added that Koenders would also be discussing human rights issues and the rule of law with representatives of civil society groups.

It is unlikely however that Indonesian officials will be very keen on discussing such issues with Koenders — or anybody else for that matter — as these are seen as a purely internal affair.

“For Indonesians those issues are domestic matters,” Yohanes told the Globe. “I think the Dutch would raise it, but they won't push it too much.”

If Koenders does publicly raise his human rights concerns, he risks reigniting the debate on past Dutch war crimes committed in the archipelago.

“I think the [Indonesian] government and the military are not that concerned about the massacres,” said Yohanes, who is a lecturer at General Achmad Yani University in Cimahi, near Bandung. “But of course, if the Dutch start talking about human rights, the usual suspects may raise those things again, even though in general, my feeling is that they no longer care.”

“There are some nationalist groups that are still pushing it,” he explained, “but generally they only get the media attention, and are encouraged by the military, if the Dutch are talking about Indonesian human rights abuses.”

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

SBY’s Tour de Java Ends with 10 Recommendations to Joko’s Administration

Jakarta Globe, Edo Karensa, March 21, 2016 
 
Former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono with wife Ani Yudhoyono visiting
children during the SBY Tour de Java. (Antara Photo/Aloysius Jarot Nugroho)

Jakarta. Former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono marked the end of his Tour de Java by issuing recommendations for 10 major issues to President Joko Widodo’s administration on Sunday (21/03).

SBY, who is also chairman of the Democratic Party, ended the 13-day tour across the Java by holding a coordination meeting with 34 heads of party’s provincial leadership boards in Surabaya, East Java.

“Through many events of ‘meet the people’ and ‘meet the cadres,’ the Democratic Party listens, discuss and gather aspirations directly from the people regarding many latest national issues,” said a party’s statement, released on Sunday.

The visit, which saw him go to West Java, Central Java, Yogyakarta and East Java provinces over 13 days, concluded with the announcement of his findings:

Infrastructure development

The Democrats sees massive infrastructure development under Joko’s leadership as a good thing which will contribute a lot to country’s long-term economy.

Yet, the party suggested the policy should be followed with appropriate funding methods, arguing that "too much state budget for infrastructure will disrupt efforts to eradicate poverty."

Coordination between ministries and stakeholders are also needed to prevent "noisy" policy, like recent issues with the Jakarta-Bandung fast train.

Drugs and terrorism The Democrats support government’s efforts to fight the drugs and terrorism crimes with still respecting the laws and human rights.

State budget and fiscal policy

The Democrats understand serious problems in the state budget, calling on the government to seek rational and feasible solutions.

“It needs to be explained to the public transparently so they can know the problems; how to cover the deficit, whether by issuing new obligations or cutting off the budgets in certain posts,” the statement said.

Tax amnesty draft bill

The party sees the Tax Amnesty draft bill as a good thing and has been implemented appropriately in some other countries. SBY calls on the bill to ensure the aspects of economic benefit, social justice and good governance, before being approved and ratified.

KPK and efforts against corruption

The Democratic Party said the corruption eradication efforts must be prioritized so that a draft bill to weaken the antigraft agency should not be deliberated.

“We don’t want the KPK [Corruption Eradication Commission] to be the only one strong and effective [law enforcement institution]. All law enforcement institutions, like Police and Attorney General’s Office [AGO] [should also be strong].”

Unemployment

SBY’s party called on the government to impose appropriate tax policies to companies as the slowing economy growth has caused lay-offs and poor job absorption.

Political party’s Sovereignty

“Make sure the law supremacy is the main thing, not politics. Law is the commander, not politics,” the party statement said. They called on all parties to respect the parties’ sovereignty in addressing their own problems as stipulated in the laws.

Football and PSSI

The party said the conflicts of the Indonesian Football Association, or PSSI, has caused many losses for the country’s football climate as FIFA sanctioned Indonesia’s football in international events.

“Indonesia is humiliated and people have suffered the loss. The problems have occurred for long tome and dragging on uncertainly. Because of that, it needs to be resolved soon.”

Honorary staff and teachers

The Democrats suggested the government issue a policy ruling on the working guarantee for the honorary staff and teachers who currently cannot be promoted to be civil servants. The policy should be explained clearly to public and implemented consistently.

Government’s transparency and accountability

The Democratic Party sees some use of state budget which is lack of transparency and accountability, calling on the government to improve the governance to prevent budget-misuse and corruption.

The visits, dubbed #TourDeJavaSBY, also aimed to gather supports ahead of the 2017 simultaneous regional elections. In last December's simultaneous regional elections, Democratic Party candidates won 63 positions from 264 province, district and city races.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Bangladesh heist exposes Philippine dirty money secrets

Yahoo – AFP, Karl Malakunas, 20 March 2016

The $81 million stolen from the Bangladesh central bank's American accounts
 last month was immediately sent via electronic transfer to the Philippines' 
RCBC bank (AFP Photo/Noel Celis)

When mystery hackers launched a stunning raid on Bangladesh's foreign reserves, a plot worthy of a John le Carre spy novel was sparked in the Philippines, exposing the Southeast Asian nation as a dirty money haven.

The $81 million stolen from the Bangladesh central bank's American accounts last month was immediately sent via electronic transfer to the Philippines' RCBC bank, with the thieves deliberately targeting their laundering location.

Maia Deguito, manager of the
RCBC branch in Manila's financial
district, attends a senate hearing
in Manila on March 17, 2016
(AFP Photo/Ted Aljibe)
The Philippines has some of the world's strictest bank secrecy laws to protect account holders, while its casinos are exempt from rules altogether aimed at preventing money laundering.

"The Philippines is very attractive (for dirty money) because our laws have gaping holes. It's easy to launder money here," Senator Sergio Osmena, who is pushing for stronger anti-money laundering laws, told AFP.

Still, if the thieves were to get away with their audacious heist, the money had to be moved quickly through the banking system and into the casinos.

And it did.

Authorities took four days to order a recall of the money.

But by then it had vanished -- leaving in its place a tale of death threats, bribes, shady business figures and a bank manager who could be the villain or a victim.

"I did not do anything wrong. If this is a nightmare, I want to wake up now," the manager of RCBC bank, Maia Deguito, told ABS-CBN television this week after authorities stopped her at Manila airport from trying to leave the country.

"I live everyday in fear."

Lorenzo Tan, RCBC president and chief executive
 officer, gives a statement during a senate hearing
in Manila on March 15, 2016 (AFP Photo/Noel Celis)
With authorities in Bangladesh and elsewhere bamboozled over who masterminded the cyber-heist, Deguito's role as manager of the bank that accepted and shifted the money has come under intense scrutiny.

She has accused the bank's president, Lorenzo Tan, of ordering her to move the money. He has fiercely denied the accusations.

Philippine senators who launched an inquiry this week into the affair are yet to determine whether she was a scapegoat or not, but are convinced she was not the mastermind.

"It's a big operation. This could not have been done out of the Philippines alone," Senator Ralph Recto said.

The Senate inquiry and another probe by the Philippines' Anti-Money Laundering Council have hit several major hurdles, including a security camera at the bank not working when the money was shifted.

Accusations and counter-accusations between Deguito and RCBC management have further confused investigators.

'Money trail'

A final roadblock has emerged at the casinos, with the money apparently vanishing in mountains of gambling chips and mysterious middlemen.

Julia Abad (R), deputy director of the anti-money laundering council, speaks
at a senate hearing in Manila on March 17, 2016 (AFP Photo/Ted Aljibe)

"Our money trail ended at the casinos," Julia Abad, deputy director of the anti-money laundering council, told senators Tuesday.

On February 5, the same day Bangladesh Bank was hacked, the money was sent electronically to four accounts in Deguito's RCBC branch in the financial capital of Makati, according to testimony to the Senate inquiry.

Those accounts appeared to have been set up solely for that purpose because they were done using aliases, the Senate inquiry heard.

After that, the bulk of the money was transferred into accounts of a local ethnic Chinese businessmen, William Go, who has since protested his innocence. He said his signature was forged to set up the accounts.

From there, the money was briefly held by Philrem, a foreign exchange brokerage.

Philrem President Salud Bautista told the Senate inquiry $30 million went to a man named Weikang Xu.

Maia Deguito, manager of the
RCBC branch in Manila's financial
district, confers with one of her
lawyers during a senate hearing
in Manila on March 17, 2016
(AFP Photo/Ted Aljibe)
He was described as a casino junket operator but senators have said they know little more about him other than he is of Chinese origin.

The anti-money laundering council said another $29 million ended up in Solaire, a casino on a glittering Manila bayside strip that the Philippines hopes will become one of the world's biggest gambling destinations.

That money was exchanged into chips but could only be turned back into cash after being played in the casino, its management told the Senate inquiry.

Another $21 million was sent to Eastern Hawaii Leisure, which runs a sparsely furnished casino with Chinese-only television in Santa Ana, a sleepy town in the far northern Philippines, according to the council.

Senator Osmena said the case was likely just the tip of the iceberg.

"This could have happened hundreds of times already," he said.

"We discovered this one only because someone complained. But normally, if a drug dealer from Burma (Myanmar) or China would send money here, no one would complain."

Thursday, March 17, 2016

KPK Seeks Penalties Against Officials Who Fail to Disclose Their Wealth

Jakarta Globe, March 16, 2016

Pahala Nainggolan, left, the deputy for graft prevention at the Corruption Eradication
 Commission (KPK), seeks firm sanctions against public officials who fail to declare
their assets and the source of their wealth. (Antara Photo/M Agung Rajas
a)

Jakarta. The Corruption Eradication Commission, or KPK, is set to propose stronger penalties against public officials who fail to submit their wealth reports to the agency, an official said on Wednesday (16/03).

Pahala Nainggolan, the KPK's deputy for graft prevention, said the antigraft agency was currently working on a draft government regulation in a bid to penalize public officials who fail to declare their assets and the source of their wealth.

The KPK announced last week that 209 of the 560 lawmakers in the House of Representatives, including House Speaker Ade Komaruddin of Golkar Party, have not yet submitted wealth reports for various reasons.

"An academic paper has been drafted and this government regulation will legally compel public officials to submit their wealth reports. If they fail to do so, there will be penalties, including salary cuts and moratoriums on promotions. Submission of a wealth report could also become a requirement for promotion," Pahala told reporters at the KPK offices in Jakarta, as reported by Antara news agency.

The KPK Law stipulates that every law enforcer and high-ranking public official is required to submit a wealth report to the antigraft agency before and after taking up a position in order to promote greater transparency.

The current regulation does not stipulate any form of sanction or penalty against public officials who refuse to comply with this requirement.

"[The regulation] must be clear and apply to all [public officials]. At the moment, the submission of a wealth report really depends on the ministers. If they are good people, they will push for it," Pahala explained.

The KPK is working to allow the wealth-reporting process to be submitted online, Pahala said. However, he added that public officials would be required to declare their assets every year.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

SBY Invites Netizens to Speak Up on KPK Law Revisions

Jakarta Globe, Edo Karens, February 15, 2016

Former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, center, has invited Indonesia's
netizens to speak their mind about upcoming revisions to the KPK Law.
(Antara Photo/Teresia May)

Jakarta. Former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, or SBY, has invited Indonesian netizens to discuss the government's plans of revising a law regulating the Corruption Eradication Commission, or KPK.

According to Democratic Party secretary general Hinca Panjaitan, the meeting is scheduled to take place at Raffles-Hill, Cibubur, in East Jakarta on Saturday (20/02), correcting a previous announcement saying it will be held on Tuesday.

The meeting will collect the public's opinions on revisions of the KPK Law, which allegedly attempt to weaken the anti-graft agency.

Lawmakers have proposed four revisions that would alter the scope of the KPK's powers in the following areas: methods of conducting investigations, wiretapping, recruitment protocols and the establishment of a supervisory body to monitor the KPK

“SBY, Democratic Politicians and its party faction at the House of Representatives will directly meet and discuss with netizens. This is a way for the Democratic Party to articulate people's aspirations, which will be carried to a plenary meeting at the House,” Democratic Party spokeswoman Imelda Sari said in a statement.

In his twitter account, SBY started to collect comments and aspirations from netizens about the amendments with the hashtag #uukpksby.

"Regarding revisions on the KPK Law, what are your thoughts? Do you agree/disagree? Why? If you agree, what needs to be changed/expanded  on?" he tweeted.

Arrests Reveal Judicial 'Mafia': Anti-Graft Experts

Jakarta Globe, February 15, 2016

The Corruption Eradication Commission headquarters in South Jakarta.
(Antara Photo/Widodo S. Jusuf)

Jakarta. The recent arrest of a Supreme Court official in a sting operation from the antigraft agency has revealed corrupt and mafia practices within the country's judicial system, experts said on Monday (15/02).

Andri Tristianto Sutrisna, the head of the Supreme Court’s subdivision for civil lawsuits, appeals and judicial reviews, was arrested with Rp 400 million (around $30,000) in cash during a late-night sting on Friday.

He allegedly received the bribe as pay off to delay the issuance of a cassation ruling in a graft case involving businessman Ichsan Suaidi.

Ichsan and another four suspects were arrested by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) in separate busts on the same day.

Yenti Ganarsih, an expert in money laundering from Trisakti University, said the arrest of the court official reveals the "mafia" practices within the country's judicial system, which has been long running and involving high ranking officials of the Court.

"This practice has long been suspected. The decades-old Criminal Code Procedures Law, if its history is carefully reviewed, organizes kinds of bribery for the judges or the Court apparatus by the lawyers," Yenti said.

In 2013, Supreme Court clerk Djodi Supratman was jailed for two years for allegedly accepting Rp 128 million  in bribes from a lawyer in connection with an appeal being heard by the court.

The judicial process mafia is a latent risk and threatens trust in the Courts, Yenti said, adding that it is still difficult to eradicate corrupt practices.

The case should be studied by lawmakers currently fight for amendments to laws governing the anti-graft agency, Yenti said. The revisions are widely believed to weaken the authority of the KPK.

Lawmakers have proposed four revisions which would alter the scope of the KPK powers in the following areas: methods of conducting investigations, wiretapping, recruitment protocols and the establishment of a supervisory body to monitor the KPK.

Aradila Caesar, a researcher at the Indonesian Corruption Watch (ICW), said the bust shows poor supervision and monitoring of the Supreme Court  — despite the institution already having an internal supervisory body.

He said the Supreme Court has opposed proper supervisions to the body by other parties, such as the Judicial Commission. On Oct. 7, Supreme Court won a judicial review at the Constitutional Court to annul Judicial Commission's roles in judges recruitment, letting the body to be fully authoritative in selecting the country's highest justices.

“The Supreme Court is resistant to supervisions [from other parties],”Aradila said.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Former Minister Jero Gets Four Years for Embezzlement

Jakarta Globe, February 09, 2016

Jero Wacik was found guilty of corruption during both his time as tourism
minister and as energy minister. (Antara Photo/M. Agung Rajasa)

Jakarta. The Jakarta Anti Corruption Court sentenced former minister and Democratic Party politician Jero Wacik to four years in prison on Tuesday (09/02) for two separate embezzlement cases during his time as the country's tourism minister and later as energy minister.

The court, presided over by Judge Sumpeno, also ordered to Jero pay a fine of Rp 150 million ($11,000) and return Rp 5 billion in state losses or face an additional year in prison.

The sentence is far from the nine years imprisonment, Rp 350 million in fines and Rp 18.79 billion in compensation that the prosecution had earlier demanded, despite Jero becoming one of the few people to be found guilty of corruption in two separate public posts.

Judge Sumpeno argued that Jero's cancer-stricken wife Trisna Wacik is gravely ill and Jero "still has to pay for his daughters' college tuition," when he explained the court's decision to not meet the prosecution's demand.

Sumpeno also instructed the Corruption Eradication Commission, also known as the KPK, to unfreeze bank accounts belonging to Jero's wife and one of his daughters, Sagita Sinta Pratiwi, saying that they were not related to the crime.

The court ruled that Jero had embezzled Rp 7 billion in operational funds for personal expenses during his time as tourism minister from 2008 to 2011 and another Rp 1 billion during his time as energy minister from 2011 to 2014.

The funds, meant to cover expenses related to his roles as ministers, were instead used to buy concert tickets for his daughters, designer handbags for his wife and to pay for Jero's weekly trips to massage parlors, among other expenses.

He was also found guilty of bilking energy companies out of Rp 10 billion in kickbacks while serving as energy minister.

Both sides can still lodge an appeal.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Indonesia to Propose 4 Projects For AIIB Financing

Jakarta Globe, January 23, 2016

The government has listed four infrastructure projects to be proposed for $1 billion
 loan from Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank this year, a senior official said on
Friday. (Reuters Photo/Kim Kyung-Hoon)

Jakarta. The government has listed four infrastructure projects to submit this year for a $1 billion loan from the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank, a senior official announced on Friday.

The government will request AIIB loans for highway construction in East and North Kalimantan, budgeted at a total of $250 million, along with another $292 million for expansion of the country's railway networks, according to Wismana Adi Subrata, Deputy for Development Financing at the Development Planning Agency (Bappenas).

Other projects include a potable water project estimated at $50 million, and a television station transmission upgrading project costing $411 million, Wismana added.

"We are still working on determining appropriate loan schemes from AIIB for each project," he explained.

The China-led AIIB began operations in its Beijing headquarters in January 16, and is expected to start disbursing loans during the second quarter of this year.

Based on its current capital capacity, the lender can reportedly manage loans of up to an annual $15 billion over the next six years.

Indonesia is a founding member of the AIIB, and is already committed to acquire $672 million of the lender's capital.