Indonesia's Monetary Plans

**At the bottom of this page are a couple of PDF's on Currency Reform written by the University of North Carolina, and a Wikipedia PDF on the History Of The Rupiah.

New banknotes launched, redenomination will go on

Satria Sambijantoro, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Business | Tue, August 19 2014, 10:32 AM
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Bank Indonesia (BI) says that it will go ahead with a redenomination plan that will slash three zeroes off the local currency, despite recently issuing new versions of rupiah banknotes.

The House of Representatives, the government and the central bank are still discussing how to proceed with the Redenomination Bill without reducing the value of the local currency, BI Governor Agus Martowardojo said on Monday.

“The discussion is still ongoing and if approved [by lawmakers], there will be a transitional period of at least six years,” he said in his keynote speech during the official release of the new Rp 100,000 banknote in BI’s headquarters.

Agus assured the public that a redenomination of currency would be different from the historically unpopular sanering (currency remediation), an economic policy normally implemented in a period of hyperinflation when a cut in currency value would also curb the people’s purchasing power.

However, unlike sanering, a redenomination in currency would also be followed by an adjustment in prices for goods and services in line with the elimination of the zeroes off the rupiah banknotes, he explained.

“We have seen the example of Turkey that has implemented a successful example of a redenomination policy and now has a stronger sovereign currency,” the BI governor said.

The decision to go ahead with the redenomination plan was revived in the middle of the launch of the new Rp 100,000 banknote, which has added printing that says, “Negara Kesatuan Republik Indonesia” (The Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia).

The banknote will also be the first rupiah denomination to bear the signature of a government representative, in this case the finance minister. Previously, only BI top officials could have their signatures printed on the rupiah.

The Rp 100,000 banknote is among the currencies with the most zeroes in the region.

This is because in terms of nominal value, the Indonesian currency is one of the world’s weakest currencies, with a US dollar being equal to 11,681 rupiah, according to the Jakarta Interbank Spot Dollar Rate (JISDOR) published on Monday.

In Southeast Asia the other currency beside the rupiah that hovers at the five-digit level against the dollar is the Vietnamese dong, which was traded at 21,200 against the greenback at the end of last week, according to the Bloomberg rating agency.

Government officials have previously stated that the redenomination plan might be dropped because of the uncertain global environment, which has exerted heavy pressure on the rupiah.

At times when a redenomination plan is implemented during a period of unstable exchange rates, or when the policy is not being communicated successfully, it could trigger heavy inflation as people lose their faith in the currency and opt to hoard assets, buying goods and services in massive amounts.

The rupiah was Asia’s worst performing currency in 2013, having depreciated by more than 26 percent against the US dollar throughout last year.

Indonesia suffered from the volatility in the global financial market as the rupiah breached its psychological threshold three times (10,000, 11,000 and 12,000 per dollar) within a year because of pressures caused by capital outflows.

Govt officially starts currency redenomination campaign

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Headlines | Fri, January 25 2013, 11:32 AM
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The government officially started its campaign to strike off three zeros from the rupiah on Wednesday, with top officials expressing their optimism that the “redenomination” would make the economy more efficient without sparking inflation.

At its current rate of around 9,700 per US dollar, the rupiah appeared to be among the world’s weakest currencies but its value did not accurately reflect the country’s strong economic fundamentals, Finance Minister Agus Martowardojo said.

“A currency that has too many digits brings complexity to calculations and economic transactions, potentially causing mistakes and ineffectiveness [during the computation process],” the minister said during the redenomination public hearing in Jakarta.

The government has included redenomination as one of the priority bills to be discussed in the House of Representatives (DPR) this year.

If the bill is passed into law, Rp 1,000 will become Rp 1 but the banknote’s purchasing power will remain the same.

A transition period is slated for 2014. This means in 2014, Indonesians will have two types of banknotes circulating in the market: the existing banknotes and those with three zeros omitted.

During the transition period, all shops and businesses will have to use dual pricing; before and after the redenomination.

The process will take between four and six years, meaning the old banknotes should be withdrawn by 2018.

It would be necessary for the public to know that the redenomination was different from the currency policy implemented in the 1960s, known as sanering, Agus said. The minister explained that, while sanering cut both the nominal value and the exchange (economic) value of the currency, redenomination would leave people’s purchasing power unaffected.

Nevertheless, the government’s plan to delete three zeros has been criticized by some parties, including Chairul Tanjung, the chairman of the President’s National Economic Committee (KEN), who argued that the redenomination was unnecessary and should not be a priority.

Delivering his keynote speech at the redenomination public hearing, Bank Indonesia (BI) Governor Darmin Nasution took time to hit back at critics.

“Those saying redenomination is not necessary, arguing that there is no price shock yet in Indonesia, are mistaken,” he said.

Darmin explained that a redenomination policy could only be successful if it was implemented at a time when a country possessed both stable inflation and strong macroeconomic fundamentals — as Indonesia has at present.

The central bank is also confident that the redenomination policy will not trigger inflationary pressure.

The money supply would stay at the same level despite the fact that there would be two types of banknotes during the transition period in 2014, a BI official said.

“If I need to print 1 million Rp 100,000 notes, then during that time I only need to print a half a million in that form, while another half will be printed in the form of Rp 100. The amount of banknotes circulating in the market, therefore, will remain unchanged,” BI Deputy Governor Ronald Waas said on Wednesday. (sat) -

Indonesia Zeroes In on Currency

Jan 23, 2013

Bloomberg -  Indonesian rupiah banknotes of various denominations.

JAKARTA – Dutch tourist Margaret Masteling didn’t know one of her most memorable sights in Indonesia would be right on its bank notes. The rupiah has zeros – lots of them.

“At first it was confusing to see many zeros,” Masteling said in a hotel lobby here. “But I got used to it after a few days.”

All the zeros can be dizzying to a tourist being asked for 20,000 rupiah for a tall Starbucks Americano (about $2). And, the government says, all those zeros slow down cash transfers and hurt the Southeast Asia country’s global image.

That may change soon.

The government began a push Wednesday to educate the public about why it makes sense to drop at least some of the zeros. The challenge is to do that without setting off alarms for everyday Indonesians that the some of the value of the money is going to be erased with some of the zeros.

“Probably for many foreigners who come for the first time to Indonesia, what they notice first is our currency. Their opinion of Indonesia might immediately drop when they see the prices are in hundreds of thousands of rupiah,” Bank Indonesia Governor Darmin Nasution said in a speech Wednesday.

Finance Minister Agus Martowardojo chimed in at the event that erasing a few zeros from the currency will make cash transactions simpler.

“Too many digits in our currency could potentially create a problem because the value of the transactions may exceed the number of digits that our payment and recording infrastructures can tolerate,” Mr. Martowardojo said.

Indonesia officially named its currency the rupiah on Nov. 2, 1949, borrowing from the Indian rupee. During the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis, the rupiah’s value nosedived by nearly 85% against the US dollar, and by 78% against prices of goods and services.

As prices went up to hundreds of thousands of rupiah, Bank Indonesia for the first time in 2004 introduced the 100,000 rupiah bank note. That’s the biggest rupiah bill today, meaning an American tourist would need to hand over about 30 individual 100,000 rupiah bills to cover a $300 hotel bill. It also means that locals have to carry lots of bank notes to get through the day.

“The idea is good because that could mean I will carry less bank notes in my wallet,” said Muhamad Yamin, a bell boy at a five-star hotel in Jakarta.

But Mr. Yamin has some worries. He’s apprehensive that some traders might jump on any redenomination of the rupiah to jack up prices for quick profits. He urged the government to impose heavy penalties to unscrupulous traders.

The idea was first privately mulled over by the central bank in 2007. It started to air the idea publicly two years ago, arguing the country’s improving economic fundamentals would ensure success. Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest economy, grew 5.8% on average between 2006 and 2011, while inflation averaged 6.3%.

It’s unclear how many zeros might eventually be omitted from the rupiah, but central bankers have said the authorities may follow the voluntary redenomination already practiced by merchants, hotels, and even rice traders. For several years, they’ve posted their prices without the three last zeros.

But, if all goes as hoped for by the government, it could take several years to change the rupiah’s zeros to calm any fears in the public that the money won’t be worth less. The parliament would need to pass a bill that has already been submitted. Given the government’s big push and business support, it’s expected to eventually pass and be implemented.

Bank Indonesia’s Nasution said during a transition period, which could take between two to three years, the authorities would require double price tagging. Meanwhile, Bank Indonesia would start circulating new bank notes with fewer zeros.

Time to Take Some Zeroes Off the Rupiah

By webadmin on 02:07 pm Jan 18, 2013

Bruce Gale – Straits Times

Are you a millionaire yet? If not, you might like to take a trip to Indonesia.

At an exchange rate of one Singapore dollar to around 7,860 Indonesia rupiah earlier this month, for example, it was possible to become an instant millionaire by visiting a money changer and exchanging less than $130.

Such high denominations have long been a source of amusement to foreigners. For accountants, however, it is a plain nuisance. Salaries are paid in millions of rupiah, while government and corporate budgets are regularly denominated in billions and even trillions.

Of all the countries in Asia, only the Vietnamese dong (currently going for around 20,750 dong to the US dollar) has a lower price.

Dealing with all those zeroes can be annoying.

A recent Bloomberg article, for example, pointed out that the nation’s total banking assets in October last year amounted to 4.029 quadrillion rupiah. That’s 4,029,000,000,000,000 rupiah.

In 2010, Bank Indonesia, the central bank, announced plans to redenominate the currency, issuing new notes that would effectively drop three zeros so that 1,000 rupiah would be equal to one new rupiah.

A draft law to this effect was finalized last year, and the Finance Ministry hopes it will be included as one of the priority Bills in the 2013 legislative program. If all goes according to plan, the new currency could begin circulating alongside the old as early as next year.

Economists The Straits Times spoke to welcomed the proposal.

“I’m all for it,” CIMB research head Erwan Teguh said in Jakarta, adding that many retail outlets were already removing three zeros for the sake of simplicity when displaying prices.

Not everyone is happy with the idea, however.

The rupiah has a troubled history, and Indonesians have been conditioned to treat any official meddling with considerable suspicion.

Reflecting this, Deposit Insurance Institute chief executive Mirza Adityaswara last month urged the government to focus on ensuring monetary stability before implementing the plan.

The rupiah fell 6.6 percent against the US dollar last year, and now stands at its weakest point since September 2009.

The economy as a whole, however, is very stable. Inflation is well under control, and fiscal policy remains prudent.

Even so, economic planners have to contend with the fact that many older Indonesians regard redenomination as synonymous with “snaring”, a word of Dutch origin that refers to an attempt to defeat inflation by slashing the nominal value of notes in circulation.

Together with devaluation, sanering has been implemented several times since independence in an attempt to overcome economic difficulties.

It is hard to imagine now, but in 1949, it was possible to buy one US dollar for just 3.8 rupiah. To do the same today, you need about 9,660 rupiah.

An overvalued exchange rate and high inflation in the years following independence led to a series of devaluations.

The first took place in 1959. It was accompanied by a sanering exercise, in which 1,000-rupiah notes were revalued at 100 rupiah.

In 1966, hyperinflation — of over 600 percent per annum — led to yet another devaluation. It also involved sanering. In late 1965, a “new rupiah” was brought in, at 1,000 to one against the old currency.

A subsequent economic stabilization program during the early years of the Suharto regime was very successful. But it was not until the mid-1970s that the country’s convoluted system of multiple exchange rates was abandoned. A mild devaluation in August 1971 then put the exchange rate to the US dollar at 415.

Other devaluations and depreciations followed, but the catastrophic collapse of the value of the rupiah during the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997 and early 1998 was far more serious. Faced with enormous financial market pressures, Bank Indonesia was unable to prevent the rupiah losing over 80 percent of its value in just a few months.

Since 1999, the Indonesian currency has been far more stable. Even so, the rupiah has yet to shake off its reputation as one of the riskiest liquid assets in Asia.

Despite short-term concerns over the declining exchange rate, now seems as good a time as any to carry out a redenomination exercise.

Now that Indonesia has a stable economy, no one can reasonably suggest that redenomination is the action of a government desperate to get its house in order.

Learning from the experience of countries such as Turkey, a transition period of about three years is envisaged, during which both the old and the new currency will circulate.

Most important, however, will be the planned consultations with the public before officials press ahead. Without public trust, the exercise could see jittery citizens dumping the rupiah and creating exactly the sort of situation they fear most.

Reprinted courtesy of The Straits Times
Southeast Asia
     Jan 20, 2012

Fewer zeroes for Indonesia
By Megawati Wijaya

JAKARTA - Draft legislation to redenominate Indonesia's currency is expected to gain momentum this year as lawmakers and monetary authorities push to drop the last three zeros from the nominal value of the rupiah. While the paper change will be largely cosmetic, analysts are divided on whether a redenomination could spark inflation and sow confusion among the public.

The rupiah currently trades at 9,200 to the US dollar and is the second-lowest priced currency in the world, trailing only the Vietnamese dong. The rupiah collapsed amid the 1997-1998 Asian financial crisis and despite economic and financial recovery still trades at a fraction of its pre-crisis value.

Finance Minister Agus Martowardojo said last month that the
 government was prepared to submit the draft law to the House of Representatives (DPR) for approval. The central bank, Bank Indonesia, has backed the move for various reasons, including the need to simplify accounting standards for transactions that now often exceed trillions of rupiah to the national pride that will be supposedly restored through a lower nominal currency value.

If the bill is passed, as is expected, Bank Indonesia has said it will need one to two years to introduce the concept to the public and explain how to adapt accounting and information systems. During the proposed transition period, prices of goods would be labelled with both the old and new rupiah rates. Old notes would later be recalled and replaced by new notes where one rupiah would be equivalent to 1,000 of the old bills, according to the proposed plan.

Certain financial analysts wonder if redenomination could be used to mask a devaluation of the currency to improve export competitiveness. If so, the policy motivation isn't abundantly apparent: Indonesian gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 6.5% last year, up from 6.1% in 2010. That represented the fastest growth clip seen since 1996, the year before the Asian financial crisis hit and bankrupted the national coffers. GDP growth is projected to hit 6.3% this year.

In December, Fitch Ratings was the first of the three major credit agencies to raise Indonesia's sovereign rating from junk status to BBB minus, based on the country's steady economic growth, low debt and strong macroeconomic position. The upgrade represented the first time Indonesia has achieved investment grade status since the economy collapsed during the 1997-98 financial crisis.

Moody's followed suit this week, raising Indonesia's rating from debt to investment grade. The credit rating agency said Indonesia's cyclical resilience to large external shocks pointed to sustainably high trend growth over the medium term.

"A more favorable assessment of Indonesia's economic strength is underpinned by gains in investment spending, improved prospects for infrastructure development following key policy reforms, and a well-managed financial system," Moody's said in a public statement.

Fundamental strengths
The rupiah was relatively stable against the US dollar during last year, a troubling economic and financial period around the world, with the local unit trading between 8,500-9,000 to the greenback.

That stability would seem to indicate that the proposed redenomination plan is not being driven by urgent economic problems, as has been the case in the past. Inflation was a manageable 3.79% in December, marking a 20-month low, although there are indications that exports are slowing amid economic turbulence in Europe and the United States and slowing growth in China.

Bank Indonesia deputy governor Budi Rochadi has acknowledged that a redenomination of the rupiah would be "disastrous" if the transition was attempted during a period of high inflation. He has said that three requirements must be met to redenominate successfully, namely a stable economic environment, low inflation and a government guarantee of price stability. He has said that all three conditions are currently and securely in place.

Mika Martumpal, a currency analyst at Commonwealth Bank based in Jakarta, believes that the redenomination plan carries few economic risks.

"It's not an overnight change. Bank Indonesia has planned to have a transition period that may run for years in which both currencies - existing rupiah and new rupiah - are accepted as legal tender. Consequently, the public will have time to accept the new currency," he said.

Martumpal notes that Turkey dropped five zeroes from the lira and had two currencies in circulation for four years before dropping the word "new" from the replacement currency in 2009. Turkey has often been cited as a success in using redenomination to fight inflation and simplify economic transactions that were previously denominated in terms of billions, trillions and even quadrillions, Martumpal notes.

The key to avoiding a sudden currency devaluation during redenomination is public education, according to Johannes Ginting, a market analyst at Monex Investindo Futures. "Preparing the public to accept the new rupiah will take time. During the transition period, prices of goods have to be clearly marked with two currencies to ensure that psychologically people will understand that the value of their money has not dropped," he said.

Traumatic past
Managing those perceptions, however, may be easier said than done. An older generation of Indonesians remembers having the value of their savings drastically reduced through currency redenomination schemes implemented in 1950, 1956 and 1966. The first, in 1950, saw then finance minister Syarifuddin Prawiranegara order the public to literally tear in half all of the notes they held denominated over five rupiah.

The left portion of a torn bill was valid as legal tender but worth only half the pre-torn bill's original amount. The right portion of the torn unit was no longer valid but could be exchanged for government bonds - valued far less than the money's original face value.

The policy aimed to reduce public purchasing power, counter hyperinflation and pay off then-spiraling national debt. While the policy's success in dampening inflation was temporary, the move managed to drastically reduce the quantity of money in circulation and replaced the bills issued by the colonial Dutch administration.
In 1959, Indonesia again sought to reduce the amount of money in circulation and contain hyperinflation. A presidential decree acted to drop one zero off all 500 and 1,000 rupiah notes, an unexpected move announced on the radio that effectively reduced the value of the currency by 90% overnight. Those ham-fisted interventions collapsed the value of the rupiah, which fell from 45 to the US dollar in 1955 to 35,000 by 1965.

An even more radical change took place in 1965 to curb inflation that then ran as high as 650% Then president and independence hero Sukarno, whose central bank over-printed bank notes to finance political prestige projects, ordered the public to exchange their old 1,000 rupiah notes for new one rupiah notes. The move drove prices even higher as Indonesians ditched cash for gold, goods and other assets.

Indonesia is now in better technocratic hands, but policymakers still feel obliged to play down that economic history. The proposed redenomination plan, Bank Indonesia officials have emphasized, is wholly different from the schemes of the past. Central bank governor Darmin Nasution has repeatedly said that the purchasing power of the rupiah will remain the same, despite dropping three zeroes from its nominal value.

Still some local analysts and business leaders suspect a hidden agenda and have referred to lingering "trauma" among older Indonesians when discussing the potential downsides of the redenomination plan.

"This has been done back in the president Sukarno era," said Sofyan Wanandi, general chairman of the Indonesian Business Association (Apindo), in a recent interview. "However it was not fruitful. Instead society endured trauma."
Megawati Wijaya is a Singapore-based journalist. She may be contacted at


Indonesia to cut 3 zeros off the rupiah

by Arno Maierbrugger - Dec 26, 2012

Indonesia rupiahThe Indonesian government has announced plans to redenominate its currency and to reduce the number of zeros on the rupiah by three beginning in 2014.

The redenomination aims to simplify payment processes in a national currency upon which many people already ignore the last three zeroes.

Indonesians currently carry 100,000 rupiah banknotes ($10.36), the highest denomination in Asia after Vietnam’s 500,000 dong notes ($25). The nation’s banking assets amounted to 4.029 quadrillion rupiah in October, or 4,029,000,000,000,000 rupiah, central bank data show.

The phasing in of new banknotes will begin in 2014 and will continue until 2016. This means that for a three-year period there will be notes showing both units of measurement that will continue to be legal tender.

“This move will not disrupt payments, inflation and the economy as a whole,” said Perry Warjiyo, executive director for economic research and monetary policy at Bank Indonesia.

“Bank Indonesia and the government will socialize the move to businesses, associations and the entire community starting next year,” he added.

The last two redenominations in Indonesia occurred in 1959, when 1,000 rupiah became 100 rupiah, and again in 1966, when 1,000 rupiah was redenominated as 1 rupiah. Had these changes not taken place, one US dollar, which at current value today is worth 9,654 rupiah, would be valued at 9,654,000,000 rupiah.

Indonesia new date (2013) 100,000-rupiah confirmed

Jan 31, 2015 08:33 AM Category: East and Southeast Asia
100,000 rupiah, 2013. Like BI B107b, but new date. Prefix GKT. This denomination has previously been confirmed with the same date, but a new signature and later prefix KKN.

Courtesy of Sejin Ahn.


Indonesia chapter of The Banknote Book is now available

Nov 13, 2014 06:38 PM Category: The Banknote Book | East and Southeast Asia
Indonesia cover
The Indonesia chapter of The Banknote Book is now available for individual sale at US$9.99, and as a free download to subscribers.

This 36-page catalog covers notes issued by the Bank Indonesia from 1952 to present. Published 14 November 2014.

Each chapter of The Banknote Book includes detailed descriptions and background information, full-color images, and accurate valuations. The Banknote Book also features:
  • Sharp color images of note’s front and back without overlap
  • Face value or date of demonetization if no longer legal tender
  • Specific identification of all vignette elements
  • Security features described in full
  • Printer imprint reproduced exactly as on note
  • Each date/signature variety assigned an individual letter
  • Variety checkboxes for tracking your collection and want list
  • Date reproduced exactly as on note
  • Precise date of introduction noted when known
  • Replacement note information
  • Signature tables, often with names and terms of service
  • Background information for historical and cultural context
  • Details magnified to distinguish between note varieties
  • Bibliographic sources listed for further research

Subscribe to The Banknote Book
If you collect the entire world or a large number of countries, buying a $99 annual subscription is the best deal because it's less expensive than buying chapters individually, and it entitles you to every chapter currently available as well as everything published—or revised (click here to see the Change Log)—during the next 12 months.

Indonesia new sig/date (2014) 100,000-rupiah note confirmed

Sep 06, 2014 09:17 AM Category: East and Southeast Asia
100,000 rupiah, 2014. Like P153, but new date and new signatures (Agus D.W. Martowardojo and unknown).

Courtesy of Thomas Augustsson.


Indonesia new sig/date (2014) 50,000-rupiah note confirmed

Sep 06, 2014 09:16 AM Category: East and Southeast Asia
50,000 rupiah, 2014. Like P152, but new date and new signatures (Agus D.W. Martowardojo and Halim Alamsyah).

Courtesy of Thomas Augustsson.

Indonesia new sig/date (2014) 20,000-rupiah note confirmed

Sep 06, 2014 09:13 AM Category: East and Southeast Asia
20,000 rupiah, 2014. Like P151, but new date and new signatures (Agus D.W. Martowardojo and Ronald Waas).

Courtesy of Thomas Augustsson.

Indonesia new 100,000-rupiah note confirmed

Sep 06, 2014 09:19 AM Category: East and Southeast Asia
Indonesia_BI_100000_rupiah_2014.00.00_B108a_PNL_AAT_345078_f copy
Indonesia_BI_100000_rupiah_2014.00.00_B108a_PNL_AAT_345078_r copy

According to an article in The Jakarta Post dated 19 August 2014, Bank Indonesia officially released a new 100,000-rupiah note on 17 August. The new note is like the current note of the same denomination (Pick P153), but with BANK INDONESIA at lower left front replaced with NEGARA KESATUAN REPUBLIK INDONESIA (The Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia) and is the first note to bear the signature of a finance minister (Menteri Keuangan). Previously, only top bank officials had their signatures printed on the notes.

Governor Agus Martowardojo also said that Bank Indonesia is moving forward with plans to redenominate the rupiah by slashing three zeroes from the currency.

Anyone interested in buying one of these notes can contact the contributor by clicking the link below.

Courtesy of Thomas Augustsson and The Currency Exchange.


Indonesia new sig/date (2014) 10,000-rupiah note confirmed

Aug 11, 2014 10:51 AM Category: East and Southeast Asia
10,000 rupiah, 2014. Like P150, but new date and new signatures (Agus D.W. Martowardojo and unknown).

Courtesy of Sejin Ahn.

Indonesia new notes from new issuer reportedly set for 17.08.2014 introduction

Jun 26, 2014 08:04 AM Category: East and Southeast Asia
According to an article on dated 19 June 2014, Indonesia plans to issue new banknotes on 17 August 2014, Independence Day. The new banknotes will have "Negara Kesatuan Republik Indonesia" (Republic of Indonesia) written on them, replacing the name of the current issuer, Bank Indonesia. The new banknotes will still have the same denominations as the current notes, will still have pictures of national figures, and are claimed to be harder to counterfeit.

Indonesia has been tinkering with the idea of changing its notes and revaluing its currency for years, with various plans in the past having failed to come to fruition. As such, it's probably wise not to put too much faith in this latest report.

Courtesy of Claudio Marana.

July 15th 2015
Mark Aldrich,
Jul 26, 2016, 1:18 AM
Mark Aldrich,
Jul 26, 2016, 1:18 AM