Indonesia's parliament is launching a probe into alleged irregularities in the purchase of Russian fighter jets - a potentially damaging political scandal for President Megawati Sukarnoputri ahead of next year's general elections. The scandal revolves around the purchase of four Sukhoi jet fighters and two Mi-35 helicopters. Megawati signed the $192.6-million deal to buy the aircraft during a visit to Moscow in April 2003.
General Endriartono Sutarto, the head of Indonesia's military, said that Indonesia would eventually like to buy a total of 48 fighters, but opposition lawmakers have accused Megawati's administration of violating legal requirements to channel all military purchases through the Defense Ministry.
A spokesperson for Rosoboronexport, the Russian defense industry's export wing, categorically denied that any bribe-giving or bribe-taking had taken place, saying, "it was a black-and-white, state-to-state agreement, there can be no questions about bribes," the St. Petersburg Times reported.
U.S. Justice Department is acting behind the scenes to have Assange extradicted from the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, and prosecuted in the U.S.