An Australian businessperson faces 15 months as the only expatriate in Jakarta’s Cipinang prison after being found guilty of charges arising from a business deal gone wrong.
But Dennis Connell, 63, has vowed to appeal against his conviction for embezzlement, which arises out of a dispute with a former Indonesian business partner over the ownership of two mining companies.
The three judges found him guilty just a week after a civil case using the same evidence was dismissed in a different court.
The Australian has already spent three months on remand in the jail and, assuming he is granted parole when he is eligible, will be in jail for another 15 months.
Connell, from Wyong, New South Wales, has said his case is a warning to any Australians wanting to do business in Indonesia to be careful.
After the verdict was delivered in the South Jakarta court late on Monday, Connell said the three judges had “not taken into account the civil case”, and that he would appeal.
His lawyer, Agus Siswoyo, said the judges had not taken into account the facts presented by Connell’s defence team.
“The judge has only looked at the documents presented by the prosecution,” Siswoyo said.
At the centre of the case is the ownership of two mining companies, and Connell’s business relationship with a wealthy Indonesian businessperson, former politician and alleged massage parlour owner, Bur Maras, between 2009 and 2011.
Maras argues that Connell stole from him by purporting to give him shares in a company as part of a commercial settlement, only to find the value of those shares had been diluted by another transaction to become virtually worthless.
But Agus said the court had not taken into account the context of that settlement, which was Maras’ failure to pay Connell $2.475 million agreed two years earlier. “It should have been balanced,” Siswoyo said.
In his pleading in the case, Connell added that he had fourth- stage prostate cancer and a bad heart.
He said he could die in jail.