Indonesian court jails former trade official, palm oil company execs

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JAKARTA, Jan 4 (Reuters) - An Indonesian court on Wednesday sentenced a former senior official at the trade ministry and three palm oil company executives to jail in a case about improper palm oil export permits, according to lawyers.

Indonesia's Attorney General in April launched an investigation into allegations of corruption linked to the issuance of export permits at a time when shipments were restricted by the government to control soaring cooking oil prices.

Indrasari Wisnu Wardhana, a former international trade director general at the trade ministry, was found guilty of abuse of power and causing state losses, his lawyer Aldres Jonathan Napitupulu said.

Indrasari was sentenced to three years in prison, the lawyer said. The prosecutor had asked for a seven year term, according to a court document.

Aldres maintained his client was innocent and denied he had accepted bribes.

"We will decide whether we will appeal or not within the next seven days," he said.

Meanwhile, Wilmar Nabati Indonesia's commissioner Master Parulian Tumanggor, Musim Mas's general manager Togar Sitanggang, and Permata Hijau Group's senior manager Stanley Ma were sentenced to between one year and one-and-a-half years in prison, the Attorney General Office said.

A legal representative for Stanley said they were sentenced for influencing the decision of the former trade ministry official. Lawyers for Master and Stanley said they were still discussing with their clients whether to appeal, while denying any wrongdoing.

Reuters could not immediately reach Togar's lawyer. The palm oil companies did not respond to requests for comment.

The Attorney General Office will appeal the court's decision seeking longer sentences, official Ketut Sumedana said.

($1 = 15,585.0000 rupiah)

Reporting by Bernadette Christina Munthe, Stefanno Sulaiman, Ananda Teresia Writing by Fransiska Nangoy Editing by Mark Potter

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