Media Release: Foreign bribery charges laid in Australia

Release Date: Friday, July 01 2011, 10:00 AM

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has charged two Australian companies - Securency International Pty Ltd and Note Printing Australia Limited (NPA) - and six Victorian individuals with bribery of foreign public officials.

The charges relate to alleged bribes paid to public officials in Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam between the dates of 1999-2005 in order to secure banknote contracts.

It is Australia’s first prosecution under foreign bribery legislation introduced on 17 December 1999.

The Australian arrests coincided with related bribery charges laid against two individuals in Malaysia by the Malaysian Attorney General’s Chambers. This follows an investigation by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.

The AFP investigation has run concurrently with investigations by international law enforcement, involving significant cooperation with the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, Malaysian Attorney General’s Chambers and Indonesian National Police.

The AFP will allege that during the period 1999-2005, senior managers from Securency and NPA utilised international sales agents to bribe foreign public officials in order to secure banknote contracts.

It will be alleged that in relation to Indonesia, a foreign official received a bribe in order to secure a joint venture banknote contract on behalf of Securency and NPA.

It will be alleged that in relation to Malaysia, a foreign official received a bribe to secure a polymer banknote contract with NPA.

It will be alleged that in relation to Vietnam, a foreign official received a bribe paid in the form of a university scholarship to secure a banknote contract on behalf of Securency.

The men charged in Australia, all from Victoria, include: a 55-year-old from Mont Albert; a 66-year-old from Mount Martha; a 50-year-old from Moonee Ponds; a 61-year-old from Beaumaris; a 62-year-old from Somerville; and a 64 year-old man from Yanakie. They will appear in the Melbourne Magistrates Court today.

The charges against the individuals, contrary to sections 11.5(1) and 70.2(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995, carry a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $1.1 million.

The AFP has also charged companies Securency and NPA. This is not a reflection that individual board members were complicit or had knowledge of any illegal activity.

The charges against the companies carry a maximum fine of $330,000 per offence.

The charges are a result of former senior managers within the companies who, allegedly at that time, represented the “mind and will” of the companies. It will also be alleged that money paid in bribes originated from the companies and that the companies therefore received a resulting benefit in the form of banknote contracts.

The AFP commenced the operation in May 2009, following a referral from the Chairman of Securency.

A dedicated team of up to 20 AFP members has been working full-time on this investigation. The team has been provided significant ongoing support by the Commonwealth DPP and Attorney General’s Department. Similarly, Austrade has strongly supported the investigation.

The RBA, Securency and NPA have each also provided substantial assistance during the AFP’s investigation.

The AFP will continue investigations in Australia and internationally with its law enforcement partners. As investigations are ongoing, it is not appropriate to make any further comment at this stage.

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