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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Aussies place gag order on bank-note graft case involving Malaysia, says WikiLeaks

Employees from the Reserve Bank of Australia’s subsidiary companies – Securency and Note Printing Australia – were alleged to have bribed foreign officials in Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam from 1999 to 2004 to win banknote printing contracts. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, July 30, 2014.Employees from the Reserve Bank of Australia’s subsidiary companies – Securency and Note Printing Australia – were alleged to have bribed foreign officials in Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam from 1999 to 2004 to win banknote printing contracts. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, July 30, 2014.
Australia has placed a gag order on a multi-million dollar graft case involving the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam through an unprecedented court order, reported whistleblower WikiLeaks today.
The case named past and present leaders from Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam, their relatives and other senior officials.
The scandal involved the RBA's subsidiaries – Securency and Note Printing Australia.
"This is an unprecedented act of censorship by Australian authorities concerning such a high-profile and multi-million dollar case," said the anti-secrecy group's publisher, Julian Assange.
"Grounds of national security have been invoked by Australian authorities to prevent any reporting on this case to protect the country's international relations."
The Age newspaper in a report this morning said no Australian media organisation can legally publish the the document or its contents.
The paper reported what Assange had said but provided no further details.
Assange said the court order had been issued following the secret indictment of seven senior executives from the two subsidiaries.
WikiLeaks revealed that 17 high-profile individuals on the suppression list included past and present prime ministers of Malaysia.
Also on the list are Vietnamase President Truong Tan San, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and former Indonesian president Megawati Sukarnoputri.
"The super injunction specifically bans the publication of the order itself, which effectively blacks out the largest high-level corruption case in Australia and the region," Assange said.
He said the last-known blanket suppression order had been granted in 1995.
That case involved a joint American-Australian spying operation against the Chinese embassy in Canberra.
Assange said the super injunction order concerning the banknote scandal was the worst in living memory.
"With this order, the Australian government is not just gagging the Australian press, it is blindfolding the Australian public,” he was quoted as saying.
"This is not simply a question of the Australian government failing to give this international corruption case the public scrutiny it is due.
"Foreign Minister Julie Bishop must explain why she is threatening every Australian with imprisonment in an attempt to cover up an embarrassing corruption scandal involving the Australian government."
The bribery allegations first surfaced in 2009, which prompted the Australian Federal Police and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to begin separate probes.
In 2010, the MACC detained three individuals linked to the supply of RM5 polymer notes following a report that Securency had offered bribes to Malaysian officials.
All three, including a businessman, were charged with accepting RM11.3 million to secure the contract from Bank Negara Malaysia and to ensure that the government opted for the polymer notes.
Former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had in 2011 denied allegations that the two Australian firms attempted to bribe him for a RM100 million currency contract during his tenure.
The attempt is believed to be related to the deal to supply RM5 polymer notes that began circulating in 2004.
- TMI

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