Fresh charges laid in Australia banknotes scandal

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Báo Tuổi Trẻ English - 38 month(s) ago 4 readings

Fresh charges laid in Australia banknotes scandal

An Australian man accused of funnelling Aus$17.2 million ($17.8 million) in bribes to a Vietnamese official and falsifying Malaysian accounts was charged on Wednesday over a banknotes scandal.

Rognvald Marchant -- a former employee from one of two banknote firms linked to Australia's central bank -- leaves a Melbourne courthouse in July 2011 after being charged with bribing Asian officials to secure contracts to print their currencies. Photo: AFP

Clifford John Gerathy, 60, is the seventh Australian to be charged over alleged bribery for contracts at currency company Securency, which is partially owned by the nation's central bank.

"It will be alleged in court that the man facilitated payments of Aus$17.2 million in commissions to an agent in Vietnam and falsified accounts in relation to a contract in Malaysia," Australian police said.

"Both alleged incidents relate to efforts to secure banknote contracts on behalf of Securency."

He was charged with conspiracy to bribe a foreign public official, which has a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison or a Aus$1.1 million fine, and false accounting, for which he faces a top jail term of 10 years.

Police said they had filed further charges against Securency and two men already before the court relating to "alleged bribes paid to public officials in Malaysia and Vietnam" between 2001 and 2006 to secure banknote contracts.

Investigations continued both in Australia and abroad, officials added, with a dedicated team of 20 people working full-time and significant government resources assigned to the case.

Seven Australians have now been charged, which has also resulted in a corruption case against a former Malaysian central banker and a businessman.

Securency produces polymer banknotes used in more than 30 countries, and its agents and those of fellow currency firm Note Printing Australia are accused of paying kickbacks to public officials in Asia between 1999 and 2006.

Australian police have worked with Britain's Serious Fraud Office, Malaysian authorities and Indonesian National Police on the case, which has stretched as far as Nigeria.

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