Saturday, 19 January 2019

Harry Azhar Azis: The blank company is for my child

  • Font:
  • Ukuran Font: - +
  • Head of Supreme Audit Agency(BPK), Harry Azhar Azis. TEMPO/Dhemas Reviyanto

    Head of Supreme Audit Agency(BPK), Harry Azhar Azis. TEMPO/Dhemas Reviyanto

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta-Harry Azhar Azis' is one of the thousands implicated in the Panama Papers. In the leaked documents held by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), Harry is recorded as the owner of Sheng Yue Internasional Limited, a company in British Virgin Islands, which is known as a tax haven.

    Harry signed up as the owner and sole director of Sheng Yue in early 2010 with the help of Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca. At that time, Harry—who was chairman of the House of Representative's Budgetary Board—listed the Parliament's address with a businessman status.

    However, harry did not include Sheng Yue in his asset report as a state official (Laporan Harta Kekayaan Pejabat Negara/LHKPN), despite him being a member of the DPR and chairman as the state's audit agency (BPK).

    In an interview with Tempo's Devy Ernis yesterday, Harry spoke about the matter.

    Is it true that you are the owner of Sheng Yue International Ltd. as listed in the Panama Papers?

    It is true. But since December 1, 2015 the company is no longer mine. I actually decided to let go of the company since December 1st 2014, after I was named chairman of the BPK. But somehow the process took such a long time. At that time, I did not handle the correspondence or other matters related to the company. After all it is just a paper (blank) company.

    Why did you choose to establish the company? And why in a tax haven state like the British Virgin Islands?

    Initially, I meant for the company to be my first child's, who was studying abroad. She married a Chilean and now lives in America. At that time he was looking for a business opportunity. She wanted to use my name but was indecisive of what kind of business to do. So it was actually a 'stand-by' company. If or when she finds a suitable business opportunity, she would use it. But the fact is the company remained inactive since it was established.

    Do you have any asset saved there?

    No assets, no activities. It's just a paper company.

    When you became House member and BPK chairman, why didn’t you report the company through the LHKPN? 

    I didn’t because I didn’t think about it. Since 2010 when I transferred to Commission XI, I got very busy. But soon I will tell everyone that I did own the company once, but not anymore.

    Why did you register the company with the DPR building's address?

    Since it's a paper company, the address could be anywhere. It just so happens that the [DPR] address is the one registered in my passport.

    Who is running the company now?

    It belongs to someone else now, it's none of my business any more.

    What if the existence of this company sparks negative effects, such as demands for you to step down from your current position?  

    Are Indonesians not allowed to have offshore companies? What is prohibited—and what would have been an issue—is if the company is used to evade taxes. I have not used it for any kind of activity.

    (*) The rest of the interview is available in this week's issue of Tempo.