In Indonesia, a joint-venture into a pay-TV business has turned hostile. Allegations of embezzlement and fraud, including charges that unauthorised payments were made to an unnamed family member of former Malaysian premier Mahathir Mohamad, have been levelled.
'This is truly a mess, a very big one,' said a chief executive of a Malaysian bank which has dealings with the two groups and is closely tracking the situation. 'Both sides made wrong moves and the whole issue boils down to the loss of face. There are not going to be any winners here,' he added.
In August last year, a police report was lodged at the Jakarta police headquarters against one Astro employee seconded to PTDV for alleged embezzlement by a director of a Lippo-affiliated company called PT Ayunda Prima Mitra. The director allegedly made payments to a family member of former Malaysian premier Mahathir.
The allegations contained in the police report, which Astro insists are frivolous, prompted the Malaysian company to immediately fly Mr Sean Dent, who was seconded as chief financial officer in PTDV, out of Jakarta. Mr Dent continues to perform his duties for the pay-TV company from outside Indonesia.
Malaysian police say that the Indonesian police then requested the Interpol division in Malaysia to arrange for them to interview Mr Ralph Marshall, Mr Ananda's chief corporate lieutenant, over the allegations of embezzlement at PT Direct Vision.
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