JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – Indonesian prosecutors in Jakarta have arrested fugitive American journalist Dalton Ichiro Tanonaka, two years after a court in the capital found him guilty of fraud.
“A joint team from the Attorney General’s Office as well as the District Attorney’s office in Jakarta nabbed Tanonaka at his apartment in South Jakarta’s Permata Hijau area in the early hours of October 7,” said Hari Setiyono, spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office.
“He was convicted of defrauding his prospective business partner $500,000 dollars [Rp. 7.37 billion] in a fraud case dating back to 2014, when Tanonaka was a president-director [of the Indonesia Channel].”
Hari added that the company had been making English-language programs about Indonesia to sell to production houses and TV stations in Indonesia and other countries Asia-Pacific region when the 66-year-old pulled his scam on his victim, who remained anonymous.
“Tanonaka convinced the victim to invest [in the Indonesia Channel] and make a 25 percent profit. His victim agreed to invest $1 million on condition that Tanonaka disclose more information about [the Indonesia Channel],” Hari said.
“Tanonaka changed tack and convinced his victim to give $500,000 as a down payment. Contrary to his claims about [Indonesia Channel] making a profit, it had incurred major financial losses, prompting his victim to report [Tanonaka] to law enforcement and drag him to court.”
Hari noted that the legal matter went all the way to the Supreme Court, which found Tanonaka guilty and sentenced him to three years behind bars. The former CNN correspondent absconded and went on the run instead.
“He [Tanonaka] will be remanded in custody at the Salemba Prison, where he will serve out his sentence.”
Prior to establishing the Indonesia Channel, Tanonaka was best known to Indonesian viewers as an anchor on Metro TV’s English language program Indonesia Now from 2006 to 2010.
(Writer: Devina Halim | Editor: Icha Rastika)