Vietnam's probe into banknote bribery under way: inspector

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Vietnam is still investigating Australian authorities' allegations that Vietnamese officials accepted bribes from Australian banknote-printing firms, a top government inspector told newswire VnExpress Tuesday.

Government Inspectorate Deputy Chief Tran Duc Luong said government inspectors had discovered "signs of dubiousness" and reported them to Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.

"The PM has required further investigations into the case," he said.

Vietnamese authorities are working with relevant countries to investigate the involvement of Vietnamese officials, he said without elaborating, adding details about the cooperation must be given by the Ministry of Public Security and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

On August 10, Australia charged the seventh man over alleged bribery for contracts at currency company Securency, which is partially owned by the nation's central bank.

Clifford John Gerathy, 60, allegedly facilitated payments of Aus$17.2 million (US$17.8 million) in commissions to an agent in Vietnam and falsified accounts in relation to a contract in Malaysia, Australian police said.

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They said both alleged incidents relate to efforts to secure banknote contracts on behalf of Securency.

Police said they had filed further charges against Securency and two men already before the court relating to "alleged bribes paid to public officials in Malaysia and Vietnam" between 2001 and 2006 to secure banknote contracts, AFP reported.

Seven Australians mostly officials of Securency and several partners have been charged with giving bribes, and Australian media have revealed the names of several Vietnamese officials involved.

However, Luong said it was just "the information in Australian newspapers."

"The Australian government has yet to provide such information to Vietnamese government," he said.

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