An Indonesian court rejected on Wednesday a civil corruption case against the youngest son of ex-president Suharto involving the alleged misuse of US$400 million (S$603 million) in state funds.

The Central Jakarta district court cleared Hutomo Mandala Putra, popularly known as Tommy Suharto, of government allegations that he illegally sold off assets to avoid paying debts to the state.tommy-suharto

‘The panel of judges reject all accusations filed by the plaintiff (the Indonesian government) against all defendants,? judge Reno Lestowo told the court, adding that a countersuit filed by Tommy was also rejected.

The government had alleged that Tommy illegally sold off assets from troubled car importer PT Timor to five of his companies at a discount to avoid paying off state loans made to Timor during the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

The civil suit filed in May last year alleged Tommy defrauded the government of $400 million by failing to pay off the loans to the business, which imported South Korean cars and changed their labels to make them appear as if they were made in Indonesia.

The reputed favourite son of the late Suharto enjoyed insider access to business deals during the crony capitalist years leading up to the Asian financial crisis and his father’s 1998 fall from power.

Tommy successfully fought off a separate $61 million civil corruption case against him in February 2008, winning $550,000 in a countersuit.

One of six children, the former playboy also served just a third of a 15-year jail term for ordering the murder of a Supreme Court judge in July 2002. He was released in October 2006. — AFP