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Pertamina ex-official on graft charge

Irianto allegedly took bribes from Kernel Oil

Indonesia's Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) today named a former managing director of Pertamina’s trading arm as a suspect in a graft case linked to oil trading with a Singapore-based company.

After nearly five years’ probing that the Indonesian authorities described as an "oil and gas mafia", the KPK has charged Bambang Irianto, former managing director of Pertamina Energy Service, with receiving bribes from Singapore-based Kernel Oil to secure trading deals.

Irianto had allegedly received at least $2.9 million between 2010 and 2013 "for the help he provided to Kernel Oil related to trades of refined oil and crude with PES", KPK deputy chairman Laode Syarif told reporters.

The ex-Pertamina official could be jailed for up to 20 years and fined 1 billion rupiah ($71,200) if found guilty in a special anti-corruption court.

Laode claimed the bribes were channelled through a shell company Irianto had established set up in the tax haven of the British Virgin Islands.

Pertamina's spokeswoman Fajriyah Usman told Reuters the company "respects the legal case that is underway and the legal principle of the presumption of innocence".

Indonesian President Joko Widodo four years ago dismantled Pertamina’s trading arm Petral, the parent of PES.

The scandal has already claimed the scalp of Indonesian upstream regulator SKK Migas’ former chief Rudi Rubiandini who accepted bribes of US$900,000 and S$200,000 (US$145,000) from a Kernel Oil official in return for awarding certain tenders to the Singapore-based player.

The monies were said to also be a sweetener for the possible award of upstream acreage.

Rudi in 2014 was sentenced to seven years in prison for money laundering and accepting bribes from Kernel and Indonesia-based Kaltim Parna Industri.

Pertamina’s ex-president director Karen Agustiawan was also questioned as witness in regard to the Kernel corruption case at the KPK headquarters in Jakarta.

Kernel could not be reached for immediate comment.

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