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Riady in Talks to Sell Lippo's California Unit

October 24, 1998| From Bloomberg News

James Riady, the Indonesian businessman whose family controls the Lippo Group of financial and real estate companies, is in talks to sell the group's California bank, it said.

Lippo Bank California, which has about $100 million in assets, said it's in the "final stages of negotiations" to sell itself to another California company, which it didn't name.

Riady owns 99% of San Francisco-based Lippo Bank California. Lippo employs about 65 people in offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Jose.

Lippo Bank California said in a statement that Riady decided to sell it because he's too busy working on his businesses in Asia to devote enough time to the U.S. bank.

"In view of conditions in Asia, and Indonesia in particular, he is not able to devote the time and attention he considers necessary to the development of Lippo Bank California," the company said.

Riady was drawn into controversy in 1996 during the campaign donation scandal surrounding President Clinton. Earlier this year the Washington Post reported that a congressional report on political donations identified Riady and his father, Mochtar, as among six people with strong ties to China who may have funneled money into 1996 U.S. political campaigns.

At the time, Lippo denied the allegations.

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