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Indonesian court jails fourth Chevron employee over corruption

By Agence France-Presse
Thursday, October 17, 2013 15:01 EDT
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PT Chevron Pacific Indonesia official Bachtiar Abdul Fatah (AFP)
 
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An Indonesian court Thursday jailed an employee of US energy giant Chevron, after three of his colleagues were imprisoned over a case that has raised alarm among foreign investors in the country.

Bachtiar Abdul Fatah, a former general manager at Chevron’s Indonesian subsidiary, was sentenced to two years’ prison for abuse of power.

He said he planned to appeal the verdict.

“Corruption is an extraordinary crime and is a priority of law enforcers in Indonesia,” said chief Antonius Widijantono on a panel of three judges of the anti-corruption court.

The three other Chevron employees were jailed for two years by the same court in July, causing concern among foreign investors who have said such cases should be and are usually settled out of court.

The court said that Chevron’s project to clean up 28 plots of land was never contaminated with oil in the first place.

The court said the rigged project had caused state losses of more than $220,000.

In previous court cases against the Chevron employees, judges found in favor of prosecutors’ claims that the company contracted to carry out the clean-up was not qualified to do so and did not have the right permits.

Chevron, the country’s biggest crude oil producer, denies all accusations and has said the clean-up was given government approval before it began.

The case has sparked concern among foreign energy companies and investors, who have battled fast-changing industry regulations and legal uncertainty in recent years.

Analysts fear it could scare off much-needed investment in the oil sector after the country slipped from being a net exporter to a net importer.

The company has said it would support its three employees to appeal to the high court, and has not ruled out international arbitration.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
 
 
 
 
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