Probe finds Indonesian chief judge owned 33 cars

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JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — An investigation of an Indonesian chief justice who was arrested on suspicion of receiving a $250,000 bribe has found that he has more than $16 million in assets, including 33 cars and 31 motorcycles, the graft commission said Wednesday.

Commission spokesman Johan Budi said the assets were confiscated from former Constitutional Court Chief Justice Akil Mochtar. He said Mochtar will have to prove they were not acquired through corruption at his trial.

Mochtar's arrest last October on charges of accepting bribes to fix the results of two local elections shocked the country because the Constitutional Court is one of the two highest courts, alongside the Supreme Court.

The opulence will add to a belief among Indonesians that outgoing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has done little to solve the corruption that plagues the country's government, Parliament and legal system. Yudhoyono is legally barred from seeking a third term in elections in July, but opinion polls say his party is likely to perform poorly.

Investigators earlier said they recovered cash stashed in the walls of a karaoke room in Mochtar's official residence.

Mochtar's lawyer Tamsil Sjoekoer said much of the money and property was acquired before his client became a judge in 2008, when he was a parliamentarian. He also said the money hidden in the karoke room was profits from a fish farm, not corruption.

"We cannot do anything right now, but will complain later at the trial," he said, adding that it was due to open early next month.

Indonesia is the world's third-largest democracy after India and the United States, but corruption has tarnished the government and deterred investment. In recent months, the former head of the police's traffic division, the head of an Islamic political party and a member of Yudhoyono's party have been convicted of corruption. Despite these arrests, Yudhoyono has been accused of ignoring suspected corruption in his inner circle and allowing graft to thrive.

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