MACC helps in Aussie bribe probe

By The Malaysian Insider

MELBOURNE, July 24 – Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officers have interviewed a Malaysian businessman about his alleged work as a middleman for the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) banknote firms, Securency and Note Printing Australia, between the late 1990s and 2007, it was reported here.

The Age newspaper said notes from interviews in Kuala Lumpur had been sent to the Australian Federal Police (AFP) taskforce investigating whether executives of the two RBA subsidiaries had breached anti-bribery laws due to their knowledge of payments made to foreign officials to help win banknote supply and printing contracts.

The RBA owns half of Securency and all of Note Printing Australia.

RBA-appointed directors are responsible for supervising the firms, including during the period in which the alleged corruption occurred.

A source aware of the MACC probe told the newspaper that the middleman, who was not named for legal reasons, provided details about the A$4 million (RM11.4 million) in commissions he received from Securency and Note Printing Australia.

The middleman was allegedly paid the money to help the RBA firms win currency supply and printing contracts in Malaysia.

He had also been a broker for a Pakistani government weapons-making factory, the newspaper said.

The developments in Malaysia strengthen indications that the AFP probe could lead to Australia’s first prosecution for bribery of an overseas official under changes to the Commonwealth Criminal Code in 1999, the newspaper said.

It was reported last month the Australian Director of Public Prosecutions had been asked to consider whether the AFP had sufficient evidence to lay criminal charges in the case.

AFP Commissioner Tony Negus recently met a senior MACC official and the pair is believed to have discussed the Securency investigation, the newspaper said.