The First Travel's Money Laundering Case: A Restaurant in London

Oleh: Wan Ulfa Nur Zuhra - 18 September 2018
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Tirto found several oddities of Nusa Dua Restaurant in London which was invested by First Travel's owner and worth Rp12 billion.
tirto.id - On Sunday, August 12, 2018, the Nusa Dua restaurant which located in the centre of City of London was packed. Since the opening hour at 12.00 until 16.00, there were around 50 visitors who came and went. I was at the restaurant during the afternoon, seated on a comfy sofa with gado-gado and coconut water on the table.

A middle-aged man then came and sat on a chair located directly in front of the cashier. Unlike other visitors who promptly served by the waiters, the man was ignored. He just sat, bowed his head and looked at his smartphone.

When I saw him, I knew that he is Yan Rizal Zainuddin, the director and shareholder of Nusa Rasa Limited, the official company name of Nusa Dua. Nusa Rasa has been listed in the Companies House—the United Kingdom’s registrar of companies—since February 12, 2018.

“Is he the owner of this restaurant?” I asked one of the waitresses.

“No, he is just the chef,” he answered.

I then approached Yan. After told him who I am and mentioned about some documents that I wanted to clarify, I asked him to talk outside the restaurant. Yan looked terrified and instantly agreed. We spoke on a sidewalk, five meters from the restaurant’s entrance.

“I am only a chef here, I don’t know anything,” said Yan, answering the question why his name comes up as a director of Nusa Rasa Limited. He refused to talk much and asked me to ask the question directly to the owner of the restaurant. According to Yan, the restaurant is owned by Usya Soemiarti Soeharjono.

First meeting in London

In 2014, Andika Surrachman and his wife Anniesa Hasibuan had a vacation in the UK. During their stay in London, the couple who own First Travel rented a car which was provided by Usya and his husband, Firdaus Ahmad.

Firdaus told them about his restaurant business called Nusa Dua whose he pioneered together with his wife. He persuaded Andika to invest. Long story short, Andika and Anniesa agreed. The restaurant, which previously was only a small shop, then moved to a new location that three times bigger. The new location is also a more strategic than the previous one, it is a place to lure visitors as tourists often wander.

To acquired the new location, Usya bought restaurant leasing from Love Health Limited which, at that time, run a Chinese restaurant business called Golden Day, located at 180-200 Shaftesbury Avenue, London. After went through a bargaining process, Love Health Ltd., sold the restaurant £280,000 (US$365,161) or Rp5.6 billion.

On January 23, 2015, both parties signed the business sale agreement in front of Ozkutan & Co Solicitors LLP, who acts as Love Health’s attorney (On Andika and Anniesa’s verdict documents, the company is written as Love Helath Ltd.—there is a possibility of misspelling).

The thing that was traded on the agreement is not the physical building of the restaurant but a restaurant leasing, a license to run the restaurant and rent the building until 2034. According to the Land Registry—a data centre for property ownership in England—Shaftesbury Chinatown Limited is the owner of the property.

It means Usya and her new investor only rent the building and need to pay the rental cost of £300,000 per year.

In February 2015, Andika sent Rp5.6 billion to Usya’s bank account to pay the restaurant leasing. After that, Andika sent her more money in phases for operational costs of Nusa Dua until the investment reached a total of Rp12 billion.

On the new restaurant’s location, there is a “part of FT Group” lettering on the restaurant signboard located right beneath the “Nusa Dua” lettering.

Between 2014 and 2016, the couple had sent Rp24 billion to Usya. It was not only for investment but was also used to fund Anniesa’s fashion show and their vacation expenditure in London.


A mazy report

On 8 August 2017, the Indonesia Police arrested Andika and Anniesa in relation to the fraud and money laundering cases. During the trial at Depok District Court, Usya was present as a witness. The prosecution then becomes a place for fuzzy testimonial exchanges between the two about the investment.

During the court, Andika provided testimonies that are entirely different from Usya. In front of the judges, Usya said that her party and Andika divided Nusa Dua shares; 60% for Andika and 40% for Usya as a manager. In the court, Usya stated that it was just "a verbal agreement" with no official contract or agreement letter.

Meanwhile, Andika told Tirto that he once signed an agreement letter for the share division in front of a solicitor in London. Unfortunately, he does not have the copy of the agreement as all his documents confiscated by Indonesian National Police. He also did not remember the solicitor’s name as well as the law office’s address, but he recognised their looks.

Tirto tried to seek the lawyer and found the fact that when they signed the agreement with Love Health Ltd, Usya was represented by Christine Lee & Co. law firm.

This law firm headquarter is in Birmingham, but it has a branch in London, located about 500 meters from the Nusa Dua restaurant. When Tirto showed the pictures of the London office as well as some of the lawyers who work for the law firm to Andika, he directly convinced that he signed the agreement in that office, in front of a lawyer called David Ho.

Contacted via a phone call, David Ho confirmed that he is Usya’s lawyer. However, he could not give any information because there was no instruction from Usya.

“I cannot say that I have met with them or not because it is related to my client and I have not received any instruction to talk,” said David when I asked him whether he had ever met with Andika or Anniesa.

According to the law, David could not talk about his client without any approval from the client. However, the fact that Usya did not give any instruction to David is rather odd.

The day before contacted David, I came back to Nusa Dua Restaurant and accidentally met with Usya.

“I regret meeting them [Andika and Anniesa],” said Usya with teary eyes when I asked about First Travel investment in Nusa Dua.

Usya talked a lot about things that unrelated to my questions. She spoke about the success of the “Hello Indonesia” events which were her brainchild in 2015 and 2016. She also explained her efforts to promote Indonesia, including by establishing the Indonesian restaurant in the centre of London.

Unfortunately, Usya kept silent when I talked about Andika’s investment in her restaurant, even though the lettering “Part of the FT Group” can still be seen on the restaurant sign.

Some questions about the investment and the efforts to transfer the asset were answered short, “I don’t want to talk about it. I have told everything [in the court].”

When I confirmed Andika’s claim about the share division agreement letter that was signed in front of her lawyer, Usya did not say whether it is correct or wrong.

“You guys, the Journalists are so smart, aren’t you? The point is, I don’t want to talk about it anymore,” she said.

My last question about the ownership of the restaurant: The name of the owner which were changed five times over the previous six years; also, the name of the chef which is written in the document as the owner of the restaurant, was left unanswered.

“I felt being cornered. You can talk to my lawyer,” she said.

Usya did not want me to talk with her lawyer. As previously stated, Usya did not give her lawyer David the instruction to speak.

Usya’s husband, Firdaus Ahmad also said the same sentence. In August 2018, he talked to a Tirto’s journalist in Jakarta, sent his address and asked to be met in London. But when I contacted him and tried to fix the schedule, Firdaus avoided me and said, “Please talk to my lawyer.”

Usya and Firdaus have asked Tirto’s journalists to talk with their lawyer twice. But until now, there is no information from the lawyer.


Changes in ownership and company’s name

Since 2012, there are at least five different companies which were listed on and off in the Companies House and ran the same business: Nusa Dua Restaurant.

The pattern is similar: one listed company proposed a voluntary winding up, not for long, before the company was dissolved, a new company with a different name registered its business. The business address always the same as Nusa Dua location.

On April 30, 2012, Nusa Limited was listed in the Companies House. At the time, Nusa Dua was still in the old address: 11 Dean Street, London. Usya’s name was listed as a director and the only shareholder.

A year later, on July 3, 2013, Usya applied a voluntary winding up for Nusa Limited. The company officially dissolved on December 25, 2015.

However, on July 21, 2014, there was a new company called Selera Limited which was registered with the address of 118-120 Shaftesbury Avenue, the new location of Nusa Dua. Usya’s name, once again, was listed as a director and shareholder.

Two years later, on August 2, 2016, Selera Limited, also proposed for winding up. But, two weeks after the proposal, there was a new company called Ruby Rasa Limited which was listed with the same operational address. At the time, Usya was no longer listed as a shareholder. Usya’s husband Firdaus Ahmad is the one that was registered.

On July 14, 2017, less than a month before the National Police Criminal Investigation Agency (Bareskrim Polri) arrested Andika and Anniesa, Firdaus proposed a strike-off toward Ruby Rasa. It is a proposal to close a company with some specific requirements: the company should not operate and run the business in the last three months; does not have any debt and does not threaten with bankruptcy. However, Nusa Dua continues to serve.

A month before Firdaus proposed the closure, a new restaurant company called Surakarta Limited which had the same address with the Nusa Dua appeared. Kasnawi Mangku Alam emerged as the director and the sole shareholder.

On May 17 this year, Surakarta Limited also proposed a winding up. Once again, there was a new company listed in February 2018 called Nusa Rasa Limited with Yan Rizal as the shareholder. As has previously been told, Yan is only a chef, and he is not the owner of the restaurant.

The registration of the last company seems odd as on November 31, 2017, Usya has signed a letter which stated that all the money used to build and buy Nusa Dua business licence came from Andika Surrachman and gave the license to prosecutor Heri Jerman and Police Commissioner Dwi Irianto.

Even though the letter has been signed since November 30, the prosecutor has just confiscated it on May 7, 2018, three months after Nusa Rasa Ltd., was registered and ten days before Surakarta Ltd., proposed for bankruptcy. There are six months since the agreement letter was signed.

According to Andika’s statement to Tirto, Heri Jerman and Dwi Irianto once visited him on December 7, 2017, or when the First Travel case was in the notification phase that the investigation result had completed. Heri blatantly asked the London asset to Andika.

“Alright, take it, I said. Then, how about my case? It is safe, they said,” told Andika, repeating his conversation with Heri.

Heri and Dwi then handed two letters to Andika. The first one was from The Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in England about the London restaurant. The second was a statement letter without the attorney and Bareskrim’s stamps.

“The content of the letter was that my restaurant asset in London would be transferred, managed and the profit would be given to Heri Jerman and Dwi Irianto,” Andika claimed.

When asked for confirmation, Heri denied Andika’s claim. “How come during the P-21, the prosecutor can meet the defendant? Since the document investigation until the P-21—criminal investigation had completed—the prosecutor can only meet the investigators because the defendant is still in detainee status. It is impossible for the prosecutor to meet with the defendant,” Heri said.

On March 2017, Usya handed over her Rp2 billion apartment in Jakarta to Andika. She assumed that the asset was "swapped" with the shares of the restaurant. As a result, Andika does not have the ownership right of Nusa Dua anymore.

“They should have understood that the handover of the apartment can be seen as a stock swap,” said Usya when I met her in London.

According to Andika, he did the handover because he needed some money and Nusa Dua had not yet give returns.

When he and his wife got arrested, Andika contacted Usya and Firdaus, asked them to make the handover looks like a stock swap by giving the apartment in exchange for the shares. It was done to safeguard his asset in London. The value of the apartment was only Rp2 billion and cannot be compared to Andika investment to Nusa Dua that worth Rp12 billion.

Aside from the swap, Depok District Court clearly stated the Nusa Dua Restaurant in London had been “confiscated by the state”. The decision is not legally binding yet because, when this report is released, Andika and Anniesa’s legal proceeding has just reached the appeal stage.

On August 27, 2018, Bandung District Court refused Andika and Anniesa’s appeal in the money laundering case of First Travel Umrah costumers. Both were sentenced 20 and 18 years in prison.

Currently, although the restaurant’s business leasing had been "confiscated by the state" and proposed for bankruptcy multiple times, Nusa Dua continues to operate. It opens seven days a week, from noon to midnight.

In the British Government’s record, the company’s name is switched to Nusa Rasa Ltd., with the owner who never feels and admits as its owner.

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This report is a translation of an Indonesian article entitled, "Restoran Nusa Dua, Aset First Travel di London yang 'Dirampas Negara'". Adhi Bhaskara translated this report, and Irma Garnesia helped with proofreading.

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Reporter: Wan Ulfa Nur Zuhra, Andrian Pratama Taher, Reja Hidayat & Felix Nathaniel
Penulis: Wan Ulfa Nur Zuhra
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