JAKARTA, May 31 - The Brunei Sultan has lost 20 billion rupiah (RM6.8 billion) to a group of Indonesian con men posing as officials from Indonesia’s presidential palace, according to police here.
Commissioner General Susno Duadji, the chief of the National Police criminal investigation unit, put an end to days of speculation by confirming over the weekend that the victim was indeed Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah.
Gen Susno added at the media briefing that the con men did not speak directly to Sultan Bolkiah.
“They talked only with the Sultan’s adjutant, who was called from Jakarta,” he said.
Officials at the Brunei Embassy in Indonesia could not be reached for confirmation, as their offices were closed yesterday.
At least 32 foreign and Indonesian officials fell victim to the gang, said Inspector-General Hadiatmoko, Gen Susno’s deputy.
The local media, including The Jakarta Globe newspaper, said the con men pretended to be presidential spokesman Andi Mallarangeng and even President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono himself when they asked for money, ostensibly to help fund election campaigns.
The victims were asked to deposit the funds into various bank accounts opened under the name of the public figures to make the scam look convincing. The funds had been frozen and would be returned to the victims, said Gen Susno.
So far, 13 people had been arrested, but two, including the mastermind, were still on the run. – Straits Times