Singapore businessman Sukamto Sia to pay $132 million in damages to Indonesian billionaire

The High Court has awarded more than $132 million in damages to Indonesian billionaire Low Tuck Kwong (right) for a defamation case he brought against Singapore businessman Sukamto Sia. -- PHOTOS: ST FILE, ZAOBAO  
The High Court has awarded more than $132 million in damages to Indonesian billionaire Low Tuck Kwong (right) for a defamation case he brought against Singapore businessman Sukamto Sia. -- PHOTOS: ST FILE, ZAOBAO  

SINGAPORE - The High Court has awarded more than $132 million in damages to Indonesian billionaire Low Tuck Kwong for a defamation case he brought against Singapore businessman Sukamto Sia.

High Court Justice Belinda Ang, at a hearing on Tuesday to assess damages, also awarded $280,000 to Mr Low for injury to his reputation after Mr Sia sent letters to the Jakarta stock exchange, among others, containing false claims.

These false claims cost Mr Low loss of business opportunity in relation to an initial public offering of his coal mining company, PT Bayan.

The $280,000 defamation award is believed to be the biggest given by a Singapore court to a businessman.

Singapore's Court of Appeal last November found Mr Sia made false statements that Mr Low allegedly reneged on an oral agreement to give Mr Sia half of PT Bayan in return for $3 million to set up the business.

The appellate court awarded special damages under Mr Low's claim for malicious falsehood, after it found that the letters, which appeared one month before Bayan's IPO in August 2008, resulted in Mr Low having to give up selling 375 million of his shares in Bayan in order for the IPO to go ahead.

That ultimately cost him the opportunity to invest the proceeds, which he said was worth about 2.175 trillion rupiah or S$334.4 million at the time, that he would have received from the listing.