No conclusion yet on banknote bribery scandal: official

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Vietnamese investigators are yet to find sufficient ground to confirm that several government officials had accepted bribes from Australian banknote-printing firms as alleged by Australian police, the Tuoi Tre newspaper reported Wednesday.


The report quoted Trieu Van Dat, deputy chief of the Ministry of Public Security's Anti-Crimes General Department, as saying relevant Vietnamese agencies were still collecting information about accusations that Securency International Pty and Note Printing Australia Ltd. bribed Vietnamese officials to win currency note supply contracts


Last week, the two firms, partly or fully owned by the Reserve Bank of Australia, were charged with bribing foreign public officials in Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam between 1999 and 2005, Bloomberg quoted the Australian Federal Police as saying.


Earlier this year, an investigative report by the Melbourne-based newspaper, The Age, said Securency had bribed Le Duc Thuy, Vietnam's former central bank governor and current chairman of the National Finance Supervision Council, by paying for his child to attend an exclusive British university.


The report alleged that the bribery had helped Securency land huge banknote supply contracts worth tens of millions of dollars in Vietnam between 2002 and 2009.


In another case, the Tuoi Tre report had Dat saying initial findings of auditors and inspectors from the State Bank of Vietnam's Inspectorate confirm that the Agribank Financial Leasing Company No.2 (ALCII), a member of the state-owned Vietnam Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development, has lost some VND3.6 trillion ($175.05 million) as of 2009.


The loss was caused by critical violations in managing and using state capital, including wrongful assessments of customers' creditworthiness, according to previous conclusions drawn by the state bank's investigators.


Dat said so far investigators have found seven wrongful contracts of the company and placed three people under investigation - Vu Quoc Hao, the company's director general, his subordinate Ton Quang Viet, and Dang Van Hai, board chairman of Quang Vinh Construction and Trade Co., Ltd.


Anti-corruption forces have in the first six months of the year detected over 5,300 cases of economic violations, a year-on-year increase of 6.5 percent, Tuoi Tre reported.


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