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November 28, 2008

Indonesia president’s in-law arrested in graft scandal
Indonesia's anti-graft agency on Thursday detained a former central banker who is President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's relative by marriage in connection with a scandal involving payments to members of parliament, reported Reuters.

Aulia Pohan, whose daughter is married to Yudhoyono's eldest son, was detained along with three other former central bank officials, their lawyer, Syafardi, told Reuters.

"The Corruption Eradication Commission detained our client today," Syafardi said.

The Bank Indonesia scandal is potentially embarrassing for Yudhoyono, who promised to tackle endemic graft in Southeast Asia's biggest economy when he was elected in 2004.

Former Bank Indonesia governor Burhanuddin Abdullah was sentenced to five years in jail last month in the graft case concerning a foundation linked to the central bank.

Transparency International Indonesia, which monitors graft, commended Yudhoyono for his hands-off approach over the case but also said he should not exploit it for politial gain.

"It shows that the president can accept corruption eradication even if it happens to his close relative...This is a positive signal but hopefully this is not a campaign tool," said Todung Mulya Lubis, the watchdog's head.

Yudhoyono is seeking a second term in office in elections next year.

Indonesia regularly ranks as one of the most corrupt countries in the world but appears to be making some progress in tackling the problem. Several high-ranking officials have been imprisoned for graft in the past couple of years.

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