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June 29, 2017

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Fugitive in US$260 million bank fraud arrives in Jakarta: officials

JAKARTA -- A former bank executive convicted over a US$260 million fraud scheme was handed over to Indonesian authorities on Wednesday after extradition from the United States, officials said.

Sherny Kojongian Saroha arrived in Jakarta aboard a commercial flight escorted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers.

"She arrived this morning and the national police have handed her to the attorney-general's office, which has the authority to handle her case," national police spokesman Saud Usman Nasution told AFP.

"This is the result of international cooperation and coordination, mutual respect for shared interests between the U.S. and Indonesia and we truly appreciate the extradition," he added.

Saroha had served as a director for Bank Harapan Sentosa (BHS), which went under in 1997 despite a bailout loan of more than US$260 million from the Indonesian central bank, the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta said in a statement.

In 1998, she was detained and questioned over her role in the bank's failure and disappearance of the money, it said.

Saroha entered the U.S. the following year and applied for permanent residency without disclosing her prior arrest and resettled in northern California, the embassy added.

An Indonesian court in 2002 convicted her in absentia of misusing bank funds and sentenced her to 20 years in prison. It also ordered her to pay more than US$214 million in restitution, it added.

"Saroha's return to Indonesia to face justice is the result of cooperation between U.S. and Indonesian law enforcement authorities, and is one more example of the deepening cooperation between the United States and Indonesia under the (2010) Comprehensive Partnership," U.S. Ambassador Scot Marciel said.

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