Australia obtains gag order on multi-million dollar corruption case involving Malaysia

Australia obtains gag order on multi-million dollar corruption case involving Malaysia
Australia had obtained a secretive suppression order from a Victorian Supreme court to prevent reporting about an international multi-million dollar corruption case.
KUALA LUMPUR: Australia obtained a secretive suppression order from the Victorian Supreme court to prevent reporting about an international multi-million dollar corruption case.

Whistleblower website Wikileaks which exposed the suppression order, reported that Malaysia’s current or former Prime Minister, are among those implicated in the case involving the Australia's central bank, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA).

The court-issued gag order dated June 19, 2014, made available on Wikileaks website, held the names of six current and former Malaysian leaders and one of their relatives.

Wikileaks said the past heads of Indonesia and Vietnam, as well as their relatives and other senior officials were also implicated in the case.

Wikileaks added that the suppression order was obtained on “national security” grounds to prevent reporting about the case, by anyone, in order to “prevent damage to Australia's international relations”.
Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange had described the order as ‘blindfolding the Australian public’ because no Australian media organisation can legally publish the document or its contents, and demanded an explanation from Australia’s foreign minister, Julie Bishop.

"With this order, the worst in living memory, the Australian government is not just gagging the Australian press, it is blindfolding the Australian public. This is not simply a question of the Australian government failing to give this international corruption case the public scrutiny it is due.

"Foreign Minister Julie Bishop must explain why she is threatening every Australian with imprisonment in an attempt to cover up an embarrassing corruption scandal involving the Australian government.

"The concept of 'national security' is not meant to serve as a blanket phrase to cover up serious corruption allegations involving government officials, in Australia or elsewhere. It is in the public interest for the press to be able to report on this case, which concerns the subsidiaries of the Australian central bank.

"Who is brokering our deals, and how are we brokering them as a nation? Corruption investigations and secret gag orders for 'national security' reasons are strange bedfellows. It is ironic that it took Tony Abbott to bring the worst of 'Asian Values' to Australia,” he asked.

Wikileaks reported that the suppression order lists 17 individuals, including "any current or former Prime Minister of Malaysia", Vietnamase President Truong Tan San, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, former Indonesian president Megawati Sukarnoputri, current leader of the PDI-P political party" and 14 other senior officials and relatives from those countries.

It said the case is about “allegations of multi-million dollar inducements made by agents of the RBA subsidiaries Securency and Note Printing Australia in order to secure contracts for the supply of Australian-style polymer bank notes to the governments of Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and other countries.”

In 2010, the MACC detained three individuals linked to the supply of RM5 polymer notes following a report that Securency had offered bribes to Malaysian officials.

All three, including a businessman, were charged with accepting RM11.3 million to secure the contract from Bank Negara Malaysia and to ensure that the government opted for the polymer notes.

In 2011, The Age reported that Former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was suspected of having been bribed by the RBA's banknote firms in return for approving a $31 million (RM99 million) contract.

Abdullah however, denied the allegations.