According to the Forbes website, currently, Sukanto Tanoto’s wealth reaches USD 1.3 billion or around Rp 18.3 trillion. He is ranked the 25th richest person in the country. Two of the seven brothers dropped out of compilation school, recovering 17 years. The man born in Belawan, Medan, North Sumatra, December 25, 1949, replaced the head of the compilation family, Amin Tanoto, who died in 1967.
He continued his business in the field of parts and construction suppliers, named Toko Motor. Sukanto Tanoto is married to Tinah Binge. From this marriage, they have four children, namely Andre Tanoto, Imelda Tanoto, Belinda Tanoto, and Anderson Tanoto. His youngest son, Anderson, is currently elected by the leadership of Sukanto at the Royal Golden Eagle (formerly known as Raja Garuda Mas).
Through the Royal Golden Eagle, Sukanto’s business expanded rapidly into various fields, such as plywood, paper, pulp, oil palm, and natural resources. Asian Agri is one of the largest palm oil producers in Asia. Forbes noted, Sukanto also owns Bracell Limited, which operates in Brazil. This company is the largest cellulose producer in the world. Cellulose is often used as a base for a variety of products, from baby wipes to ice cream.
However, the business does not always run smoothly. Asian Agri embezzlement case had made his name tainted. This case began with a report on avoidance of tax payments by 14 companies under the Asian Agri Group to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) in 2006. The KPK then handed over the preliminary evidence to the Minister of Finance, which was later submitted to the Directorate General of Taxes in January 2007.
The Directorate General of Taxes then started the investigation process by examining the 2002-2005 financial statement book concerning the 14 companies. From the results of the investigation, the practice of tax evasion carried out by Asian Agri is quite sophisticated, systematic, and planned. “They even have a special unit that regulates this tax evasion,” said Director General of Tax Fuad Rachmany on January 9, 2014. The existence of this particular unit proves that the tax evasion they have committed is classified as criminal. The fines imposed on Asian Agri are Rp 2.5 trillion, and administrative sanctions are Rp 1.9 trillion.
Accused for Causing Environmental Pollution
Previously, another Sukanto Tanoto company, PT Inti Indorayon Utama, was accused of causing environmental pollution in the Porsea region near Lake Toba, North Sumatra. The first pulp mill in Indonesia was often involved in conflicts with residents.
However, during the Soeharto government, Indorayon was never touched by the law. Sukanto is indeed close to the second president of the Republic of Indonesia. It was only during the administration of President BJ Habibie that Indorayon finally stopped operating. Then, during President Abdurrahman Wahid, the company was permanently closed. However, during the administration of President Megawati Soekarnoputri, the company came back to life. It changed its name to PT Toba Pulp Lestari. Outside of business, Sukanto is also active in social activities. He founded the Tanoto Foundation with his wife in 1981. The organization is mostly engaged in education.
Improving Educational Aspects
APRIL Group, as part of the Royal Golden Eagle corporation, improves aspects of education for people in the area around the company in various ways. Providing scholarships ranging from elementary to university level, teacher training, and helping prepare multiple educational facilities and equipment. All of these are things that are difficult to obtain by those who live below the poverty line, and APRIL Group is immediate and open access to the community for these things.
Communities that have access to higher levels of education have more opportunities to be successful in the future. This success will indirectly improve the standard of living and financial well-being of the family going forward.