Ahok’s Ex-Wife Hid Affair

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Ahok granted custody of two younger children.

  • End of 20-year relationship because of 7-year love affair
  • Veronica concealed lover’s identity on her mobile phone by using a nickname
  • Spoke to him in Hokkien – which Ahok does not speak
  • Continued to see lover despite being repeatedly told to stop the relations
  • Married businessman Julianto described as “deadly seducer”
  • Ahok confronted Julianto to leave his wife alone, but they continued their relationship
  • Last straw was Ahok discovered lovers had secret tryst in Singapore
  • Ahok maintained silence about affair, even with family and friends

A Jakarta court on Wednesday (April 4) granted a divorce request by former Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama on the grounds that there was adequate evidence of infidelity by his wife Veronica Tan.

The three-judge panel also granted Basuki, popularly known by his Chinese name Ahok, custody of their two younger children.

Presiding judge Sutaji said they accepted the reasons Ahok put forward – that the marriage is no longer harmonious due to his wife’s love affair with a man named Julianto Tio.

Among the evidence submitted by Ahok’s lawyers were copies of mobile phone chats between Veronica and Julianto.

“The conversation between third person Julianto Tio and the petitioner’s wife as exhibited by evidence item 6 through item 12 (in the form of photos of chats from a mobile messaging application) reveal a close and special relationship. We deem these evidence as valid,” judge Sutaji said in the verdict.

He said Veronica had concealed the identity of her “good friend”, Julianto, on her mobile phone by using a nickname for him.

“To deceive anyone, including her husband, Tan changed the name of Julianto Tio on her mobile phone to another name, Medan Elang,” the judge said. 

Elang means “eagle’ in Bahasa Indonesia.

Veronica would also speak to Julianto in Hokkien – a language that her husband does not speak – said the judge.

She continued to see Julianto despite being told repeatedly to stop the relations, the presiding judge said, citing witnesses who testified during the course of the trial that began in late January.

Ahok, 51, filed for divorce from Veronica, 40, on Jan 8. They were married in 1997 and have three children – Nicholas Sean, 19; Nathania Berniece, 16; and Daud Albeenner, 11.

The former governor will gain custody of Nathania and Daud Albeenner – who are considered minors under Indonesian law because they are below 17 years of age – after he finishes his jail term.

Ahok was sentenced to two years in jail for blasphemy in May last year (2017). The controversial sentence was handed down weeks after he lost the Jakarta gubernatorial election.

He was deputy governor of Jakarta before he took over as governor in 2014 after his former running mate, Joko Widodo, was elected president of Indonesia.

Fifi Lety Indra, Ahok’s sister and his lawyer in the divorce case, previously said in January that his decision to end their 20-year-long relationship was due to a suspected affair that Veronica had with Julianto, who she identified as a former school friend of Tan’s sister.

Reports have said Julianto was a businessman who was also married.

According to Fifi, the affair between the two lasted seven years.

Describing Julianto as a “deadly seducer”, she said Ahok had exhausted all efforts to keep the family together, including confronting Julianto in 2016 to leave his wife alone for the sake of both mar­riages. But when confronted, Julianto denied having a romantic relationship with Veronica and the two continued to contact each other.

“They allegedly have had relations for the past seven years, and Ahok and his son met Julianto around 2016 to tell him to keep away. That time, Julianto said he was only a good friend,” Fifi told reporters then.

She said the problem with their marriage escalated when Ahok found out that his wife had gone to Singapore separately on the same date that Julianto had also travelled to Singapore.

“The problem went on and on to the point that Ahok finally decided to give up. What we need to make it clear is Veronica has fallen a victim to Julianto Tio’s deadly sweet talks,” Fifi added.

Fifi said Ahok kept silent about the affair, even from his friends and family. She said she had only found out about the infidelity in November.

She said the family had originally planned to keep the affair a secret but were forced to make the affair public after rumours about the marriage began swirling following news of the divorce. There had been speculation the divorce was due to Veronica’s unhappiness over Ahok’s plan to make a political comeback after his prison stint and that it was a ploy for public sympathy following Ahok’s imprisonment.

Dhoni Setiawan/JP

Throughout the divorce hearing, neither Ahok nor Veronica turned up in court. Veronica did not appoint any lawyer to represent her, while Julianto also did not attend the hearings.

News of the couple’s divorce came as a shock to many since the couple had continued to display what appeared to be a warm relationship even through Ahok’s political struggles.

On Dec 4 last year (2017), a photo of Veronica was posted on Ahok’s official Instagram account, along with a short message to greet her a happy birthday.

The couple met in church after Ahok, then 30, met then 19-year-old Veronica at the Kristus Yesus church choir in Pluit, North Jakarta. She had been a member of the church choir, while Ahok was in the church committee. Ahok reportedly fell for her after hearing her singing and playing church songs while Veronica was impressed with his firm and resolute character.

Ahok once spoke of his marriage, telling the Kompas news website in 2016 that he does not consider himself a romantic. He said as a couple, they had never once celebrated Valentine’s Day due to his busy political schedule. He added that they rarely had any disagreements and when they did, those usually did not last long.

“The most important thing is that the couple must be willing to forgive and forget and accept the partner no matter what,” he was quoted saying.


Veronica, too, once shared fond words about their marriage. In a TV show interview with the couple last February, she said: “If we weren’t romantic, we wouldn’t have had three children,” the Viva entertainment website reported. – The Straits Times

Earlier report: Jan 9, Ahok Files for Divorce