Bribery case involving Vietnamese spy dismissed

Case dropped: Vietnamese Intelligence officer Colonel Anh Ngoc Luong.
Case dropped: Vietnamese Intelligence officer Colonel Anh Ngoc Luong.

The bribery case over banknote deals brokered by a Vietnamese spy colonel has been dismissed.

Magistrate Phillip Goldberg told the Melbourne Magistrates' Court this morning that there was insufficient evidence to commit the case to trial, dismissing some of the first charges to be laid under laws against foreign bribery introduced into Australia in 1999.

The prosecution alleged that three former executives of Reserve Bank companies Securency and Note Printing Australia had conspired to provide illegitimate benefits to Vietnamese officials, with the intention of influencing their decision to award banknote contracts worth about $184 million.

The deals were brokered by Securency's agent in Vietnam, intelligence officer Colonel Anh Ngoc Luong.

The alleged benefits included paying for travel and accommodation of Vietnamese bank officials at currency conferences in Mexico, Brazil, the United Kingdom and Rome and also included Securency arranging a paid place for the Vietnamese state bank governor's son at Durham University in England.

The prosecution can still choose to directly present the charges to the Supreme or County courts.

But Magistrate Goldberg today said a jury would be unable to convict the accused on the evidence before him and dismissed conspiracy to bribe charges for Vietnam against former Securency managing director Myles Curtis, former Securency sales executive Ron Marchant and former NPA sales boss Clifford Gerathy.

He said: "The prosecution are unable to satisfy a jury beyond reasonable doubt. The evidence at best is not of sufficient weight."

No charges were laid over any bribes in the form of money, and Magistrate Goldberg said there was no evidence of any.

The committal continues in relation to deals with Malaysia and Indonesia.

This story Bribery case involving Vietnamese spy dismissed first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.