Documents released over the weekend by Securency’s board, which is chaired by RBA assistant governor Bob Rankin, show external auditor KPMG is likely to examine whether the polymer banknote manufacturer could have violated America’s far-reaching and powerful Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and Australia’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws.
THE payment of millions of dollars to offshore tax haven bank accounts by Reserve Bank of Australia subsidiary Securency could expose the company to investigation by US authorities. Nigerians watch with keen interest as the investigation of the Australia Company accused of bribing Nigerian officials to win a banknote deal in the cash-for-contracts scandal progresses.
The probe centres on a series of multimillion-dollar payments by the RBA firm Securency to offshore accounts of two British-based businessmen, Benoy Berry and Mike Harding, who boast high-level political contacts in Britain and Africa.
The firm, Securency, was found to have made a series of multimillion-dollar payments into offshore bank accounts of two British-based businessmen linked to the currency printing deal.
Former CBN Governor, Charles Chukwuma Soludo, mentioned in the scandal is currently running to be the next Governor of Anambra State, South-Eastern Nigeria.
The Australia Newspaper the Age reports that Documents released over the weekend by Securency’s board, which is chaired by RBA assistant governor Bob Rankin, show external auditor KPMG is likely to examine whether the polymer banknote manufacturer could have violated America’s far-reaching and powerful Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and Australia’s anti-money laundering and counterterrorism financing laws.
Under the US Act, non-American companies suspected of bribing foreign officials to win contracts can be prosecuted by US authorities if they have a commercial presence in America or conducted financial transactions through US-registered bank accounts.
Securency has a $12 million banknote plant in Mexico and previously had a sales executive based in the US to look after its substantial sales to Latin America. It is also believed to have wired money to US bank accounts.
A decision on whether the Securency board will seek KPMG’s advice on the company’s exposure to US anti-corruption laws is expected soon.Australian Federal Police agents raided Securency’s Melbourne headquarters last week as part of a long-running investigation into allegations it had bribed foreign officials to win banknote supply contracts.
Police also raided the Melbourne homes of Securency managing director Myles Curtis and company secretary John Ellery.
Computers and files were seized during the raids. Mr Curtis and Mr Ellery have been stood down until the police inquiry concludes.
The Securency board revealed on Friday night that Mr Curtis and Mr Ellery had failed to inform it or RBA auditors of an internal complaint by a staff member in 2007 about the company’s payments to agents in at least two countries.
The Age has been told by Securency insiders that the staff member was effectively forced out of his job by senior management in April 2007 soon after he expressed concern about the company’s business practices.
It is believed the staff member put his concerns in an email to Mr Curtis who then conducted an internal investigation and deemed no action was necessary.
Company insiders also allege Securency’s senior managers shredded documents and hid files to stop RBA auditors learning the full details of its arrangements with foreign middlemen.
The RBA wanted to examine Securency’s agent arrangements in 2006-07, but well-placed sources claim Securency’s management stymied RBA auditors to the extent they could not conduct a proper examination.
The company was allowed to continue using its vast network of foreign middlemen and it continued to send millions of dollars into offshore tax haven accounts.