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JAKARTA, Indonesia – Police questioned the Indonesian business partner of U.S. President Donald Trump at length on Friday over allegations he sent threatening text messages to a deputy attorney general.
A smiling Hary Tanoesoedibjo arrived at the national police's Criminal Investigation Agency in central Jakarta in the morning and left about eight hours later.
He insisted on his innocence to a phalanx of waiting media.
"I explained that I didn't have any intention to threaten," he said. "The language in the SMS is commonly used."
The 51-year-old billionaire, better known as Tanoe, is barred from leaving Indonesia for six months after police requested an extension of a travel ban of several weeks that was announced in June.
Tanoe is accused of sending threats by SMS early last year to Yulianto, a deputy attorney general for special crime who investigated a 2009 graft case related to Mobile-8 Telecom, a telecommunications company that Tanoe once owned.
Under Indonesian law, using technology to threaten people is punishable by up to four years in prison.
Tanoe, who was a guest at Trump's inauguration, harbors political ambitions of his own and has said he might run for president in Indonesia's 2019 election.
His conglomerate MNC, which has media, property and other businesses, is developing two luxury resorts in Indonesia that will be operated by the Trump Organization. One is part of a massive MNC development that includes a theme park on the doorstep of a national park in West Java that is home to endangered species.
"Let us hope this legal process will be carried out professionally, for the sake of good law enforcement," Tanoe told reporters. "Because if I, Hary Tanoe, could be treated like this because of the SMS case, then all other people could also experience the same thing."