Radar Bali carries news of yet another property transaction by foreign nationals attempting to secure land in Bali gone sour.
U.K. nationals, Christopher James Forbes, 50, who list his address as the Bali View Apartment, Jalan Nakula 390 in Kuta, and Angus Knowles Jackson were arrested on Christmas Eve pursuant to a criminal complaint filed with the Bali police by Dmitry Chernikov, a Russian national. Also reportedly listed in the complaint was the Commissioner of Asian Estate Investment, Agus Setiawan Waworuntu, an Indonesian national residing on Jalan Danau Tamblingan in Sanur.
The police complaint alleges malfeasance in the handling of funds for the purchase of land on Balangan Beach, Bukit Jimbaran in South Bali.
Although Indonesian law specifically prohibits the purchase of land by foreign national, many website and property companies in Bali offer property and "freehold" land for sale to aliens using legally contravening nominee structures.
Reza Akbar Maya Poetra, the attorney for Forbes and Jackson, was quoted by the press as alleging the incarceration of his clients is unjust. Peotra said: "On May 13, 2008, Dmitry Chernikov, claims he transferred Rp. 2 billion to the account of Waworuntu at Bank Permata as the down payment for the purchase of the land. I don't know why Dmitry Chernikov cancelled the transaction and asked for his money to be returned. The money requested by Dmitry was not returned by Agus."
Eventually Dmitry decided to bring his case to the police. Poetra explained further: "My clients and one more person known to be employees of the company have been arrested because of this case. What's strange, three people were reported to the police. However, Agus was not arrested. It's clear here that the person who received the money was Agus, so why is that my client and his friends are the ones arrested?"
Poetra admitted that there were numerous inconsistencies in Agus' explanation as to why the Russians money was not returned as requested. One glaring inconsistency, according to Poetra, was Waworuntu's explanation that he had forgotten the address of the Russian. "Based on statements such as these made (by Woworuntu) to the investigators, it seems strange that my clients are the ones arrested. This was an electronic transfer of money. O.K., the arrest of my clients is the prerogative of the police, but there are rules to the game. Don't act with impunity," complained Poetra.
Speaking separately, the Head of the Criminal Division of the Denpasar Police Headquarters, Rendra Radika Dewayana, denied that his department was being selective in who they arrested. "Agus is being sought. The address he provided in the case was fictive. Agus is now listed on the ‘most wanted' list of the Bali police. This case is still being developed," said Rendra.
In a subsequent report in DenPost, the attorney for Dmitry Chernikov, Mochmad Sukedi, claims that his client did not cancel the subject land purchase but, instead, discovered that the land offered to him by Asian Estate Investments was in fact owned by the Indonesian Department of Finance and was not for sale.
Explained Sukedi: “After I checked, it was revealed that the land was government owned. They were selling ‘fictional’ property.”
The Russian’s attorney also rejected out of hand claims by Forbes that he was not involved in the fraud, pointing out that Forbes and Waworuntu offererd land for sale that was not in their position and never available for sale.
[Bali Property Ownership by Foreigners]
[This Land is My Land, This Land is Your Land]
[Freehold Land Title for Foreigners in Bali: Caveat Emptor]
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