Riady to Pay Record $8.6 Million Fine

ByABC News
January 12, 2001, 5:56 AM

W A S H I N G T O N, Jan. 12 -- Billionaire Indonesian banker James Riady, long accused of illegally funnelling campaign contributions to President Clinton, will plead guilty to one felony count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and pay a record $8.6 million fine, the Justice Department said Thursday.

Riady will pay the fine as a penalty for unlawfully reimbursing Clinton campaign donors with foreign funds from 1990-94, the department said in a statement.

Riady will also perform 400 hours of community service and forfeit to the U.S. Treasury any refunds issued him from any political campaign committees in the wake of this announcement, the statement said.

He will also be barred from making, reimbursing or directing any future campaign contributions in U.S. elections, it said. His plea agreement was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

In addition, LippoBank California, the California arm of Indonesia's Lippo Group, will plead guilty to 86 misdemeanor counts charging its agents, Riady and campaign contributor John Huang with making illegal foreign campaign contributions from 1988 through 1994.

Huang pleaded guilty to campaign finance charges in 1999.

Lippo officials have reportedly been among those reimbursed for contributing to Clinton's campaign.

$1 Million Pledge

From "August 1992 through October 1992, shortly after Riady pledged $1 million in support" for Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign, "contributions made by Huang were reimbursed with funds wired from a foreign Lippo Group entity," the statement says.

Investigators began looking into allegations of the illegal contributions by 1997. Last August, Indonesian authorities announced they were cooperating with FBI investigators.

Riady is one of 26 people and two corporations charged by the Campaign Financing Task Force, established two years ago to look into allegations of campaign finance improprieties.

The statement says Riady will turn himself into U.S. authorities, then plead guilty and continue cooperating with them, although there is no extradition treaty between the United States and Indonesia. He is to turn himself to Los Angeles federal court on Tuesday, at 9 a.m.