Indonesian Parliament Speaker Detained in Graft Scandal


Indonesia's parliament speaker has been charged in a major graft scandal thought to have cost the state $170 million, after a freakish drama that involved a failed raid on his palatial estate.

The vehicle accident unleashed a wave of incredulity in Indonesia with some seeing it as an outrageous move to stymie the investigation.

Images swept across social media Thursday night showing a black SUV with a dented grill resting against a power pole, and Novanto apparently unconscious in a hospital bed with a bandage on his head.

Later, Novanto was involved in a auto accident and his lawyer, Fredrich Yunadi, said a journalist was driving the vehicle and interviewing his client at the time.

"So, there are three potential forces and are suspected to engineer the law to release Setya Novanto in the second volume of pre-trial hearing later", said Haris to reporters in Jakarta on Monday (11/20).

A day later Novanto was being driven to an appointment in Jakarta when the accident happened.

"We will take every legal step possible to show that he is innocent and we will continue to do so", his lawyer Fredrich Yunadi told AFP.

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"I and hospital officials have told them that such a situation was not good for other patients, but they did not care", he said. The driver, a reporter from a local TV station, only suffered light injuries but Novanto, who wasn't wearing a seatbelt, was "badly injured" with symptoms of a concussion, according to Yunadi.

Novanto, an influential politician from the Golkar Party, has been caught up in corruption scandals in the past.

He is accused of being among 80 people who used the introduction of a $US440 million ($A616 million) electronic identity card system to steal more than a third of the funds.

Novanto has previously denied wrongdoing, but has repeatedly missed summonses from the KPK for questioning in recent months, saying he was ill and needed to undergo heart surgery.

He is one of the most senior politicians to be detained by the agency, popular among ordinary Indonesians for targeting members of the establishment suspected of abuse of power.

A wealthy businessman himself, Novanto met U.S. President Donald Trump in September 2015, while the latter was campaigning for the presidency, to discuss investment in Indonesia.