The Democratic Party reported online news site Asia Sentinel to the Press Council on Wednesday for publishing an article claiming that party chairman Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono headed a “vast criminal conspiracy” during his time as president.
In an article entitled, “Indonesia’s SBY Government: ‘Vast Criminal Conspiracy’”, the Asian Sentinel quoted a 488-page investigation report filed with the Mauritian Supreme Court accusing the Yudhoyono administration and the Dems of being involved in the high-profile Bank Century case that allegedly resulted in millions of dollars in state losses.
“It is not true that the Democratic Party received millions of dollars from Bank Century. It is not true that Pak SBY is the owner of Bank Century. It is not true that SBY and the Democratic Party was involved in money laundering,” Dems secretary-general Hinca Panjaitan told reporters at the Press Council building in Central Jakarta on Wednesday. “Because these are serious allegations, we are also very serious in responding to them.”
Hinca requested that the Press Council communicate with its counterpart in Hong Kong to discipline the Sentinel, as the party’s investigation found that the website’s IP address was registered in Hong Kong.
However, John Berthelsen, the Sentinel’s editor and writer of the disputed article, told The Jakarta Post via email that the company was registered in California, the United States. The website of Asia Sentinel stated that the assets of the Hong Kong entity had been transferred to the US.
“Prior to July 21, 2017, the board of directors of Asia Sentinel Ltd. agreed to allow Asia Sentinel Ltd. to become dormant in Hong Kong and to transfer that company’s assets and cash to Asia Sentinel Media LLC. The new entity was registered with the California Secretary of State on that date and Asia Sentinel Ltd of Hong Kong then ceased to carry on business. All stories written after that point are property of the new entity,” the website said.
Press Council deputy chairman Ahmad Djauhar said the council would review the Dems’ complaint and look into any form of action that could be taken.
“We will try to find comprehensive information about the matter, but so far during my tenure we have not worked together with the Hong Kong Press Council,” he said.