JAKARTA, Sept 10, 2007 (AFP) - Indonesia's Supreme Court has awarded its ex-President Suharto one trillion rupiah (US$106 million dollars) in damages in a lawsuit he brought against Time Magazine, a court official said Monday.
"We accept the suit filed by Suharto and refuse the decision of the Appeal Court and Central Jakarta District Court," Supreme Court spokesman Nurhadi told reporters, referring to rulings against Suharto made in 2000 and 2001.
He said the court, in its August 30 ruling, had ordered that Suharto be paid one trillion rupiah in immaterial damages and that an apology be published in Indonesian newspapers as well as three Time titles.
Suharto had been seeking more than 27 billion dollars in the defamation suit filed against US-based Time over a May 1999 article alleging he had stashed a massive amount of money abroad.
Time said in the article that it had traced some 15 billion dollars in wealth accumulated by Suharto and his six children following a four-month investigation by its correspondents in 11 countries.
The 15 billion dollars, the article alleged, included nine billion dollars in cash that was transferred from a Swiss to an Austrian bank shortly after Suharto stepped down amid unrest in May 1998.
The magazine also said it had documented that more than 73 billion dollars "in revenues and assets" passed through the Suharto family's hands during his 32 years in office.
But those holdings had allegedly been reduced over the years by mismanagement and the 1997-98 financial crisis, it said.
Under Indonesian law, the only legal avenue open to Time now would be to file a request for a judicial review, for which new evidence or a procedural dispute needs to be claimed.