Indonesia’s former taxman Rafael gets 14 years in prison for corruption, money laundering

Judges found Rafael guilty of money laundering and accepting unlawful gratuities worth Rp 10 billion from taxpayers through a tax-consulting firm from 2002 to 2006.


Defendant and former tax officer Rafael Alun Trisambodo attends a hearing on Oct. 23, 2023, at the Jakarta Corruption Court. PHOTO: ANTARA/ THE JAKARTA POST

January 9, 2024

JAKARTA – The Jakarta Corruption Court sentenced Rafael Alun Trisambodo on Monday to 14 years in prison for corruption and money laundering involving billions of rupiah during his stint as a tax official.

The panel of judges found Rafael guilty of money laundering and accepting unlawful gratuities worth Rp 10 billion (US$ 64,4031) from taxpayers through a tax-consulting firm from 2002 to 2006, as well as of accepting other gratuities worth Rp 47 billion related to his position as a taxman.

“Being guilty of all three counts makes him liable for [the prison] sentence,” said presiding judge Suparman Nyompa when reading out the sentence in a televised trial on Monday.

The judges said Rafael had been recommending, for a fee, a tax-consulting firm his wife owned, PT Artha Mega Ekadhana, to taxpayers who were being audited. The company, as reported by, was established in 2002 and operated until 2005.

The court also ordered him to pay Rp 500 million (US$32,195) in fines, or serve an additional three months in prison, and to pay Rp 10 billion in restitution fees.

The prison sentence was largely in line with the prosecution’s demands although the court ordered Rafael to pay fines and restitution fees lower than those sought by the prosecutors.

The judges cited as mitigating factors the fact that his crimes undermined the government’s corruption eradication efforts as aggravating circumstances, that he had not previously been found guilty of a crime and that he has a family.

Prosecutors from the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) had accused him of accepting unlawful gratuities from taxpayers totaling Rp 16.6 billion from 2002 to 2011, instead. They said the alleged crime began when he was an assistant tax inspector at the Jakarta Tax Office.

Prosecutors said Rafael had been recommending, for a fee, PT Artha Mega Ekadhana and several other tax-consulting firms to taxpayers who were being audited.

Prosecutors also accused Rafael of laundering Rp 31.7 billion from 2003 to 2010 and more than Rp 60 billion, including illicit money in foreign exchanges, from 2011 to 2023.

KPK prosecutors demanded 14 years in prison and a fine of Rp 1 billion, as well as Rp 18.9 billion in restitution fees for Rafael.

Both Rafael and the KPK prosecutors said on Monday that they needed time to consider whether to appeal.

Rafael’s case stemmed from a criminal assault case filed against his son in early last year, which inadvertently exposed Rafael’s lavish lifestyle, which did not match his wealth profile as an echelon III government official at the Finance Ministry’s Tax Directorate.

Not long after, the KPK launched its investigation into Rafael, while the ministry dismissed him from his position at the Tax Directorate.

KPK investigators had raided Rafael’s house in South Jakarta and confiscated the illicit money and dozens of designer bags, as well as a Harley Davidson motorcycle that had triggered public uproar about his extravagant lifestyle.

In his defense, Rafael had maintained innocence.

His lawyers previously told the court that the wealth of his client had been subjected to the tax amnesty, or so-called voluntary disclosure program, and thus could not be used as evidence to ensnare him, Antara reported.

They also said that KPK prosecutors had failed to prove that Rafael had laundered money or was liable for receiving unlawful gratuities via the companies in question.

Rafael’s case opened a Pandora’s box of inquiries into the wealth of public officials. A number of officials, serving in both the central government and local administrations, have come under the scrutiny of the authorities, and of the public, for appearing to be suspiciously wealthy and flaunting lavish lifestyles on social media.

Rafael’s son, Mario Dandy Satrio, was sentenced to 12 years behind bars in early September for the aggravated assault of a teenager, who happens to be the son of a high-ranking member of Nahdlatul Ulama’s (NU) youth wing, GP Ansor. (alf/jan)

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