Indonesian taxman Gayus Tambunan jailed for corruption

By Alice Budisatrijo
BBC News, Jakarta

image captionGayus Tambunan bribed his way out of jail to watch a tennis match in Bali during the trial

An Indonesian former tax official has been jailed for seven years for causing millions of dollars in state losses.

Gayus Tambunan was found guilty on four counts of corruption - including bribing his way out of bribery charges.

The case has gripped the nation as during the trial, the defendant managed to bribe his way out of jail dozens of times, including for overseas trips.

It has opened a window on government corruption, and damaged the president's reputation as an anti-graft reformer.

During the trial, Tambunan confessed to having helped powerful firms evade taxes, paying prosecutors and police officials, and relieving his stress by leaving his jail cell to watch an international tennis tournament in Bali.

He also admitted to having flown to Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Macau using a forged passport while supposedly in detention.

In his attempt to avoid a heavy sentence, Tambunan offered to be made a special advisor to the nation's graft busters to help them catch not only the "small fish, but also the sharks and the whales" in the corrupt system.

He promised Indonesia would be "clean" within two years.

The judges did not consider this offer a factor, but did give him a lighter sentence than the 20 years demanded by prosecutors.

The case has embarrassed Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who came to power on an anti-corruption platform.