Vietnam PM orders continuous watching on banknote scandal

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The Vietnamese prime minister has asked diplomatic and internal affair agencies to keep tabs on the progress of a case in which Vietnamese officials allegedly accepted bribes from an Australian banknote-printing firm.

PM Nguyen Tan Dung asked the agencies to punish people for wrongdoings and misconduct, Vietnamnet quoted Vu Duc Dam, chief of the government's office, as saying on Friday.

Dam made the announcement at the government's press briefing on the accusations related to the scandal of the Reserve Bank of Australia's currency firm, Securency, according to the newswire.

The suspicions first arose in 2009 when Australian media reports accused Securency officials of bribing Le Duc Thuy, former governor of the State Bank of Vietnam, to land huge banknote supply contracts worth tens of millions of dollars in Vietnam between 2002 and 2009.

On September 17, The Age reported that Bill Lowther, former deputy chairman of Securency, was charged by Britain's Serious Fraud Office with bribing Thuy in 2003 by paying for his son, Le Duc Minh, to attend Durham University, England. Thuy retired from public service on May 1 this year.

Lowther, who stepped down as Securency's deputy chairman after he was arrested and questioned last October, was appointed to the company's board by the Reserve Bank's joint venture partner in Securency, the British firm Innovia, according to the paper.

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No corruption evidence in Vietnam banknote scandal

Meanwhile, Australian Federal Police so far have charged eight former senior executives of Securency, and Note Printing Australia, also owned by the Reserve Bank of Australia, with bribing public officials in Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam.

However, in its report to the National Assembly in October the Vietnam government said the Ministry of Public Security's initial findings have yet to find any evidence about Vietnamese officials' bribery.

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