D.C. United: Former Indonesian coal executive no longer an owner

The owners of D.C. United, led by majority owner Erick Thohir and managing partner Jason Levien, said through a spokesman Thursday that a controversial Indonesian businessman had sold his stake in the club.

In 2012 a group led by Thorir, an Indonesian media magnate, purchased a majority interest in the Major League Soccer club along with partners including Indonesian coal executive Rosan Roeslani.


D.C. majority Erick Thohir with business partners at a 2013 Inter Milan press conference. Rosan Roeslani is at far right. (Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images)

Thorir and Roeslani also later teamed up on the purchase of a 70 percent stake in Inter Milan, an Italian team. Inter Milan issued a press release introducing Roeslani as a “prominent Indonesian businessman and investor focusing in strategic sectors including banking and finance, infrastructure, real estate and tourism.”

Roeslani has come under considerable scrutiny, however, for his alleged mismanagement of an Indonesian coal mining company, PT Berau Coal Energy. After the company’s parent, formerly known as Bumi, found $201 million in unaccounted expenditures last year, Roeslani made no admission of wrongdoing but resigned and agreed to pay the company $173 million in cash and assets within six months, according to corporate filings and media reports

By December, the parent company, now known as Asia Resource Minerals, said the money had not arrived and “concluded that Mr Roeslani does not intend to make any payments.” It hired a London law firm to track Roeslani’s assets down and, according to a recent report in the Telegraph of London, the attorneys were looking into whether Roeslani owned a stake in D.C. United.

Craig Stouffer, spokesman for United, said that Roeslani had owned only a small stake and sold it recently to the majority group led by Thohir. “Rosan Roeslani is not an owner and has no ownership interest in D.C. United,” Stouffer said in an e-mail.

“Mr. Roeslani previously owned an indirect, passive minority interest in the team which he has since sold back to the ownership group,” he added.

The ownership change comes as D.C. United and the District have nearly finalized a deal to split the costs on a $300 million, 20,000-seat stadium on Buzzard Point.

Officials in the office of Allen Lew, the District’s city administrator and negotiator for the soccer team, were made aware of the Roeslani connection after being contacted by a reporter for the Web site 100 Reporters, which published a report on Roeslani May 15.

Lew spokesman Tony Robinson said the city didn’t consider it an issue. “It isn’t something we’re concerned about,” he said.

A spokesman for Asia Resource Minerals declined to comment. A spokesman for the firm’s attorneys in London did not return a request for comment. Roeslani and his assistant also did not return a request for comment.

Staff Reporter Steven Goff contributed.

Follow Jonathan O’Connell on Twitter: @oconnellpostbiz

Jonathan O'Connell has covered land use and development in the Washington area for more than five years.
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Jonathan O'Connell · May 23, 2014