Indonesia arrests oil and gas regulator boss Rubiandini

BBC Map There are concerns that allegations of corruption in Indonesia oil and gas sector could deter investors

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Indonesian authorities have named the head of the country's oil and gas regulator, SKKMigas, as a suspect in a bribery case.

Rudi Rubiandini was arrested by the Corruption Eradication Agency late on Tuesday.

Two other men who were arrested have also been named as suspects and the officials found cash totalling $790,000 (£510,000).

It is the highest amount found in a corruption-related arrest in Indonesia.

Mr Rubiandini, a former deputy energy and mineral resources minister, was appointed in January.

His appointment came after the independent industry regulator BPMigas was declared an unconstitutional organisation by a court, which said it had the potential to create power abuses.

SKKMigas was then created to temporarily oversee the country's upstream oil and gas businesses under the energy ministry.

Struggle

The BBC's Alice Budisatrijo in Jakarta said the arrest came has a surprise to many in the government and private sector, because Mr Rubiandini is known as a modest technocrat.

SKKMigas said the arrest would not affect the running of Indonesia's oil operators. The agency has contracts with BP, Chevron and Exxon Mobil.

"Operations will continue to run. There is no impact," said Elan Biantoro, a spokesman for the energy regulator. "For now, with the vacuum in the top post, there are no crucial issues that need to be decided upon."

The arrests come as Indonesia is already battling concerns over corruption allegations in its oil and gas sector that some analysts said could deter investors.

In July, three employees of a Chevron local subsidiary were jailed for corruption-related charges.

It is also the latest in a string of high profile cases allegedly involving corruption and high-ranking officials.

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