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Archive for the ‘BRIBERY’ Category

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Ex-senior Chinese military officer Gu Junshan, who is facing several charges of corruption, including unlawfully selling hundreds of positions in the army, is said to have also shipped billions worth of gold bars for bribes, Hong Kong-based Phoenix Weekly magazine reported Monday.

The gold-obsessed general and former deputy director of the logistics department of the People’s Liberation Army, is said to have been especially fond of solid gold, particularly when it came in the shape of Buddha statues.

But when it was time to receiving “gifts” Gu allegedly preferred ground up gold rather than gold bars, Reuters reports:

When offering [bribes], he would fill up a Mercedes with hundreds of bars of gold and then simply hand over the car keys to the recipient, the report said.

“Gu got exactly what he wanted,” a person with knowledge of the probe told the magazine.

Gu is alleged to have shared much of the spoils of his scams with Xu Caihou, his superior, including giving a 20 million yuan (US$3.1million) debit card to Xu’s daughter as a wedding present, the South China Morning Post reported in March. Xu was forced to retire as deputy head of the powerful Central Military Commission last year.

China intensified a crackdown on corruption in the military in the late 1990s, forbidding army members from engaging in businesses. But officers have been involved in commercial dealings in recent years due to a lack of checks and balances.

Anti-graft advocates believe corruption in the Chinese military is so pervasive that it could undermine the nation’s ability to wage war.

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BIG MONEY FOR THE BOYS IN ARGENTINA FOR ID CARDS SYSTEM

Eight former Siemens senior executives and agents have been charged with plotting to pay $US100 million ($99.55 million) in bribes to secure a $US1 billion contract to produce national identity cards for Argentine citizens, in a scam involving a ”shocking level of deception and corruption”, an assistant US attorney general says.

An indictment returned late on Monday in US federal court in New York charged the defendants with conspiring together from 1996 to early 2007 when they worked for the German engineering company.

A former member of the central executive committee of Siemens AG, Uriel Sharef, and two former chief executive officers of Siemens Argentina were among those charged with conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the wire fraud statute, the Justice Department said. They were also charged with money laundering, conspiracy and wire fraud.

”Today’s indictment alleges a shocking level of deception and corruption,” Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer said. ”Business should be won or lost on the merits of a company’s products and services, not the amount of bribes paid to government officials.”

The charges against Sharef marked the first time a board member of a Fortune Global 50 company had been charged in a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act case, Breuer said. He was not in custody on Tuesday and it was not immediately clear who might represent him in legal proceedings. None of the bribe recipients were named in the indictment and none of the defendants is in the United States.

Breuer said it was Justice Department policy not to name people who are not indicted and that the US would work with other countries to bring the defendants to justice.

Seven of the defendants were also charged in a civil case in New York in which the Securities and Exchange Commission accused them of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. It’s the largest action the SEC has ever brought against people accused of bribing foreign officials, said Robert Khuzami, SEC director of enforcement.

Ronald Hosko, the FBI’s agent in charge of the bureau’s Washington field office criminal division, and Khuzami emphasised the complexity of the investigation, which authorities unravelled with what Breuer called ”extraordinary” cooperation from Siemens, the German engineering company.

”The company is not indicted,” said Alexander Becker, a Siemens spokesman. ”We can’t comment on proceedings against individuals.”

The conspirators committed to pay $US100 million in bribes to Argentine officials and actually paid more than $US60 million, including more than $US25 million laundered through the US banking system, Breuer said.

After the identity card project was terminated, the defendants tried to recover profits they would have gotten from the contract that was awarded to them illegitimately, US Attorney Preet Bharara said.

The SEC said bribes were initially paid to secure the contract to produce national identity cards known as Documentos Nacionales de Identidad for Argentine citizens. According to the indictment, the government of Argentina invited bids in 1994 to create state-of-the-art national identity cards to replace manually created national identity booklets that citizens previously received.

The contract issued to a special-purpose subsidiary of Siemens was suspended and then cancelled after a change in Argentine political administrations, the indictment said.


More charges expected

in banknote bribery investigation

BY RICHARD BAKER AND NICK MCKENZIE
04 Jul, 2011 06:41 AM

Australian trade officials met a colonel from a Vietnamese spy agency 18 times before suggesting to a Reserve Bank currency firm that it hire him as an agent in an arrangement that is now expected to lead to more corruption charges as part of the nation’s biggest bribery probe.

Fairfax reports that the Australian Federal Police investigated an Austrade commissioner after uncovering information about their role in helping banknote firm Securency International provide overseas travel for Vietnamese officials.

The revelation of Austrade’s intimate role in Securency’s allegedly corrupt Vietnam dealings comes just hours after German police swooped on a former senior sales executive from Note Printing Australia, the second RBA banknote company accused of bribing overseas officials.

The weekend arrest of Christian Boilott over his alleged role in a conspiracy to bribe overseas officials while working for NPA came just before his yacht was to sail in a European contest in Boltenhagen, in Germany.

Boilott, whom Australia authorities will seek to extradite, is the ninth man to be charged across the globe for their alleged role in the Reserve Bank banknote firms bribery scandal, with six Victorians and two Malaysians arrested on Friday.

The Vietnamese colonel also suspected of playing a key role in a bribery scheme allegedly driven by Reserve Bank companies, Securency and NPA, is yet to be questioned by Vietnamese authorities, who have so far declined to assist Australia in the global inquiry.

Former Australian diplomatic and trade officials have privately confirmed that Securency’s agent Anh Ngoc Luong’s status as a colonel in Vietnam’s spy agency, the Ministry of Public Security, was well known to the Australian embassy in Hanoi when Austrade suggested Securency appoint him and his company, CFTD, as its agent in 2002.

Information issued by Austrade and the Department of Foreign Affairs to Liberal senator Russell Trood show that Australian officials in Hanoi met or spoke to Colonel Luong 18 times between 1999 and 2001.

It is illegal for an Australian company to hire a foreign official as its paid agent, and Colonel Luong’s appointment is suspected to have begun one of the highest paying bribery arrangements that Securency set up across the globe, paying the colonel up to $20 million, much of it in suspected bribes.

In return, he helped Securency win a massive contract to turn Vietnam’s banknotes from paper to plastic.

Australian embassy staff in Hanoi continued to have close dealings, including intimate dinners, with Colonel Luong even after an Austrade commissioner formally warned the Australian Government and the RBA in 2007 and 2008 that he was a high-ranking Ministry of Public Security officer. The Ministry of Public Security is Vietnam’s internal security and counter espionage agency.

This information was also made available to the Securency board at that time. The board did not ask Securency management to end its arrangement with Colonel Luong.

The Austrade commissioner investigated by the AFP over Securency’s Vietnam dealings is understood to have helped arrange visas for Vietnamese officials to enter the US on a Securency-funded holiday.

The Austrade official has not been charged. Other Austrade officials have given statements to the AFP.

The revelation of Austrade’s intimate involvement with Securency’s Vietnam affairs is likely to increase pressure on the Gillard Government to agree with a push by Greens leader Bob Brown for a parliamentary inquiry into the roles of the trade agency and the RBA in the bribery scandal.

A senior federal government official has said that if an inquiry was held into Austrade’s relationship with Securency and Note Printing Australia ”it would emerge that the Australian Government has sanctioned and engaged in corruption”.

A high-ranking Austrade manager has told Fairfax that ”in the case of Securency … there is no doubt as to Austrade’s complicity as the agency not only made the introductions to CFTD but advised on how to deal with them”.

The RBA owns half of Securency and all of NPA.

During the period of the bribery offences, both companies were chaired by former deputy RBA governor Graeme Thompson and had RBA officials as directors.

In Vietnam, Securency has been charged with bribing the former Vietnamese central bank governor, Le Duc Thuy, by providing a scholarship for his son to study at an exclusive English university.

Mr Thuy remains a senior figure in the Vietnamese Government and chairs the National Committee for Financial Supervision.

Colonel Luong is believed to have used some of the commissions paid to him and CFTD by Securency to fund the education of Mr Thuy’s son. Bribery in Vietnam carries the death penalty.

Austrade deemed the partnership between Securency and Colonel Luong’s CFTD firm to be so successful that it presented them with a special export award in 2004.

In November 1999, Colonel Luong was invited to Australia as part of an Austrade seminar on the Vietnam market.

In August 2008, he was part of an Australia-Vietnam Joint Trade and Economic Cooperation Committee delegation months after Austrade’s commissioner in Vietnam warned of his links to the Ministry of Public Security.

Colonel Luong also attended several lunches and dinners hosted by the Australian embassy.

The AFP’s investigation into Securency and NPA remains ongoing and further charges against other former executives are expected.

Britain’s Serious Fraud Office is investigating Securency’s contracts in Nigeria, which involved nearly $20 million in payments to agents and offshore bank accounts.

Austrade declined to comment, citing the ongoing police investigation.

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