Colombian Detainee Thought to be Fugitive Indonesian Party Treasurer

Posted August 8th, 2011 at 7:35 am (UTC-5)
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Authorities in Colombia are holding a man who is believed to be the fugitive former treasurer of Indonesia's ruling Democratic party, Muhammad Nazaruddin.

Officials in Jakarta said Monday the man was arrested Sunday in Cartagena based on information provided to the international police agency Interpol. They said the man was traveling on a passport bearing the name M. Syahruddin and has been identified by the Indonesian ambassador in Colombia as physically identical to the missing treasurer.

They said police will fly to Colombia to verify the man's identity.

Nazaruddin fled to Singapore in May while being investigated on suspicion of soliciting almost $3 million in bribes in connection with the construction of an athletes' village for the Southeast Asian Games, to be held in November.

The treasurer disappeared soon after that, but has proclaimed his innocence and leveled charges against other politicians in electronic messages to reporters.

The case has been a major embarrassment to the government of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who was re-elected in 2009 on promises to clean up corruption in the government.