Can Indonesia's Salim Get Out Of This Corner?

Drowning in debt, a Suharto pal scrambles to save his empire

When foreign bankers begin the painstaking process of restructuring the crushing $80 billion in debts of Indonesian corporations, across the bargaining table will be a familiar face: Anthony Salim, chief executive of Indonesia's biggest conglomerate. Salim eagerly agreed to become point man for the debt talks when asked by Indonesian President Suharto. "It's as if you're sitting on the Titanic," Salim explained in a rare interview. "If Indonesia sinks, all the corporations will sink."

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