The real story of Sukanto Tanoto

Wendy Tanoto, nephew of Sukanto, has an interesting story to tell:

My uncle, Sukanto Tanoto is a very good story teller. As I mentioned several times in my blog, he always lies to me and my family since I was young.

He made up lie even on the most obvious fact, such as- his father’s death.

In his own biography and multiple interviews, my uncle, Sukanto Tanoto claimed that our grandfather passed away when he was a teenager in 1972.


” His father, an immigrant from Putien, Fujian province, was then running a three-man firm in Medan supplying spare parts to oil and construction companies. The elder Tanoto died soon after his son joined him at work, leaving the teenager to helm the family business.”

– From rags to US$2.8b fortune” Laurel Teo (2007-04-07) Business Times Singapore


“Young Sukanto had a dream of becoming a doctor but he could not pursue his dream. It is because when he was 18, his father died because of stroke, and as the oldest son, he must take the responsibility for the family.”

– Sukanto Tanoto: Remembering the Past- From Zero to Hero (2014)


Sukanto Tanoto was not born and grown up in a wealthy family. His father, Amin Tanoto, passed away when Sukanto Tanoto was 18 years old.

– Sukanto Tanoto’s Keys to Sucess in Business, Part 1 (2014)


“Eldest of 7 boys left school at age 17 to join father’s 3-man firm supplying parts to oil and gas companies. Took over after father’s early death. “

– #450 Sukanto Tanoto- The World’s Billionaires (2009)


In reality, my grandfather was alive until 2000 and passed away when Sukanto was 51 years old, which made him a little too old to be considered as a teenager. Well, people have different measurement, so no judgement on that. But making up a fake year of his own father’s death may go a little too far.

I celebrated many holidays with my grandfather, together with my uncle when I was young.





Photo: This family picture was taken in 1993. Grandpa is sitting in the center. Sukanto is sitting right next to Grandpa with a red tie. According to Sukanto, he is a teenager when he took the photo. Maybe he would also think that the woman sitting next to him is a teen mom. (Unfortunately there is no date on this photo so Sukanto can totally say that we lied about the dates and this was actually taken when he was a teenager in or before 1972. I would leave the lying part to Sukanto since he’s better at that.)

It’s unclear to me why it is necessary for Sukanto to lie about my grandfather’s death.

Just remember one thing, it is always wise to think for a second before believing Sukanto’s words because they cannot survive scrutiny.




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