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Indonesian judge arrested in alleged bribery

| Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013, 9:33 p.m.

JAKARTA — The top judge on Indonesia's Constitutional Court has been arrested on suspicion of taking bribes in the country's latest high-profile graft scandal, an official said on Thursday.

Chief Justice Akil Mochtar is the third high-ranking official to be taken into custody by the Corruption Eradication Commission this year. The suspected graft that led to his arrest, along with five others, is believed to be connected to disputed results in a district chief election, said commission spokesman Johan Budi.

Mochtar and two other suspects were arrested at his house in the capital, Jakarta. They were caught “red-handed” and investigators seized $265,000 in cash, Budi said.

“The operation was based on information received some days earlier about a plan for the money delivery,” Budi told a news conference. “The two suspects were believed to have handed over the money to Mochtar when captured.”

One of those arrested with Mochtar was Chairun Nisa, a legislator from the Golkar Party. The judge had been a lawmaker from the same party before being appointed to the court in 2008 and becoming chief justice in April.

Another suspect, Hambit Bintih, the incumbent chief of Gunung Mas District in Central Kalimantan, was arrested at a Jakarta hotel, Budi said.

The district chief was re-elected Sept. 4, but two competitors filed a lawsuit with the Constitutional Court alleging that Bintih paid voters. Mochtar was a member of the three-judge panel handling the case.

Two other suspects were taken into custody later Thursday and $87,000 was seized in connection with another regional election.

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