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Mystery man unearthed as mud sticks to Lapindo [Indonesia]

Author: John Aglionby, Australian [newspaper], Published on: 22 November 2006

An American friend [James Belcher] of Aburizal Bakrie, Indonesia's powerful welfare minister, is behind the mysterious Freehold Group, which agreed to buy oil explorer Lapindo Brantas [part of Energi Mega Persada] last week. Lapindo has been blighted by a large mudflow at one of its drilling sites that is likely to cost hundreds of millions of dollars to clean up... Belcher said Minarak Labuan, a Bakrie Group affiliate, would "contribute significantly" to the mudflow clean-up costs... Fauzi Ichsan, an economist with Standard Chartered, said there was concern that Freehold would allow Lapindo to become insolvent: "Then Lapindo's liability in cleaning up the mess would be limited to the assets of the company." Mr Belcher...categorically denied this.

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Related companies: Bumi Resources Energi Mega Persada