Limit search to available items
Streaming video

Title Four Corners: Dirty Money
Published Australia : ABC, 2010
Online access available from:
Informit EduTV    View Resource Record  


Description 1 online resource (streaming video file) (44 min. 55 sec.) ; 271593650 bytes
Summary How the central pillar of Australia's financial system, the Reserve Bank, became ensnared in an international bribery scandal.Doing business in a foreign country often requires the help of a local fixer or agent. What's expressly forbidden under Australian law is any bribery payment to win a contract. Now reporter Nick McKenzie talks to an insider-turned federal-police-witness who claims that a Reserve Bank of Australia currency company was prepared to do anything to win over foreign officials to make deals, even if it involved supplying prostitutes or paying cash to foreign bank accounts. Armed with this evidence, Four Corners follows the money trail across three continents in a case that has echoes of the AWB affair. In the late 1990s, the Reserve Bank of Australia thought it was on a winner. The bank had developed the technology to create revolutionary polymer bank notes. The Reserve decided to set up a subsidiary company called Securency, that it would part-own with private interests, to sell the technology to the world.It had just one problem: getting access to other central bank officials to pitch the idea was tough going. Instead of making bank-to-bank representations, Securency decided to employ middle-men to make connections with the relevant officials. Using information given by an insider from the company, Four Corners can now reveal those agents acting on behalf of Securency were conduits for a series of illegal payments intended to secure foreign contracts.Reporter Nick McKenzie also reveals that the people chosen as Securency's men-on-the-ground had a history or positions that should have made them no-go zones. One man hired by Securency to do business in Africa had already been accused and investigated for corrupt behaviour. In another case, the company was warned the man it had chosen was a government official. Regulation prohibited any payment, but the deal went ahead anyway.If the people the company chose to hire raised questions, the amounts of money and the method of payment also suggest illegality. Documents show that nearly $50 million of Australian taxpayer's money was spent on commission agents. It's also clear that large amounts of this money was deposited in banks hidden away in tax havens.Reporter Nick McKenzie travels to key locations around the world trying to find out who had authorised the employment of these commission agents, what they had done to earn their money and if they had paid any of it to third parties.Given that Securency is half owned by the Reserve Bank, and half its Board appointed by the Reserve, how can the use of agents be explained? For now, neither the Reserve, Securency or the Federal Government are talking. But questions remain. Who authorised, and who knew about, the payments? And did the Reserve Bank itself at any time ask the directors it had appointed to ask questions about the company's behaviour?Our reporter also talks to a Securency insider who has seen much of this behaviour first hand. The insider is now a key witness in a major corruption investigation. It is possible that, for the first time in Australian corporate history, the police may succeed in a foreign bribery prosecution.The allegations of corrupt payments have clear implications for the Reserve Bank and the Government. They also have implications for Australian companies doing business overseas. As one African corruption fighter says:"It destroys your credibility. It destroys your image. It destroys everything."
Notes Closed captioning in English
Event Broadcast 2010-05-24 at 20:30:00
Notes Classification: NC
Subject Bribery -- Economic aspects.
Corporations -- Corrupt practices.
International business enterprises.
Reserve Bank of Australia.
Form Streaming video
Author Aziz Tunku Ibrahim, Tunku, contributor
Bender, Klaus, contributor
Broinowski, Richard, contributor
Brown, Bob, contributor
Burbidge-King, John, contributor
Chaikin, David, contributor
Curtis, Myles, contributor
Hayton, Bill, contributor
Ibrahim, Anwar, contributor
Mamo, Joe, contributor
Mckenzie, Nick, reporter
Ribadu, Nuhu, contributor
Sanusi, Lamido, contributor
Smith, Patrick, contributor
Swan, Wayne, contributor