Securency defence: no proof of crime

AGENTS' deals to secure banknote contracts in Asia may have been ''greedy'' but they were not corrupt, a court has heard, and the Reserve Bank had previously paid agents the same rate.

Defence lawyers, in submissions to the Melbourne Magistrates Court, have this week argued that charges against former executives from Reserve Bank subsidiary Securency should not proceed to trial.

The former executives have been charged in relation to their dealings with a Vietnamese intelligence officer, Colonel Anh Ngoc Luong, who acted as an agent to sell banknote materials to the State Bank of Vietnam.

The court has heard Colonel Luong earned a commission of between 7 and 10 per cent on contracts worth about $184 million between 2002 and 2008.

Barrister Mandy Fox, for former Securency managing director Myles Curtis, said Tuesday that Colonel Luong had ''done himself a very good deal'' but ''he can be greedy and legitimate'' and there was no evidence his commission was excessive.

Laws against foreign bribery were introduced in Australia in 1999, after the Reserve Bank had privatised its note-printing operations into Securency and Note Printing Australia, while maintaining half-ownership of one and full ownership of the other.

Ms Fox said the Crown ''at best'' could argue that the dismissal of Securency employees who raised questions about the payments indicated a consciousness of guilt. But she said the evidence suggested they had been dismissed for other reasons and ''consciousness of guilt doesn't get you there … [when] there is no real evidence of the crime''.

Prosecutor Kevin Armstrong said the case was built on circumstantial evidence.

The committal continues.

This story Securency defence: no proof of crime first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.