JAKARTA, Indonesia–Indonesia’s Supreme Court on Wednesday revealed that it has upheld a graft verdict against a local employee of U.S. energy giant Chevron Corp. issued last year.
Chevron said in a news release that the Supreme Court had rejected an appeal by Bachtiar AbdulFatah, an employee of Chevron Pacific Indonesia, and doubled his sentence to four years. Mr. Fatah was also fined 200 million Indonesian rupiah ($16,600).
Mr. Fatah was sentenced to prison last year by an anticorruption court in the resource-rich Southeast Asian nation for his role in a bioremediation project on the oil-rich island of Sumatra in western Indonesia. Three other employees also were convicted. The Supreme Court has yet to rule on their appeals.
“We are very disappointed,” Chevron said in a statement, and “we remain confident that there was no credible evidence of corruption, criminal act or personal gain” on the part of its employee in the case. The company said it would support Mr. Fatah’s efforts to seek a review of the judgment.
The case concerns a cleanup project at a Chevron site in Sumatra that prosecutors argued caused state losses. Chevron Pacific Indonesia said the project was approved and supervised by the government.
Andrew White, managing director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Jakarta, called the decision “regrettable.”
“It is deeply disappointing and perpetuates a series of unsettling court decisions on the case from a ‘rule of law’ perspective,” he said in a release. He cited a “worrying lack of evidence” in the case.
The verdicts last year sent shock waves through the business community, sparking fears of an increasing trend in the criminalization of business disputes in the Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest economy.