The Reserve Bank of Australia is to offload its 50% stake in Securency, the banknote production company mired in allegations of corruption and bribery.
The RBA says it decided to bail out of the company after it had received unsolicited approaches to sell its holding. The Aussie central bank has appointed Macquarie Capital Advisors to advise on the sale, which will also involve the 50% stake held by joint venture partner Innovia Films.
Securency, a provider of polymer banknotes to 27 countries, is alleged to have paid bribes to officials, including bankers and politicians, to win overseas contracts.
The homes of six former and current Securency staff were raided in Melbourne by Australian Federal Police in October. Meanwhile the UK's Serious Fraud Office simultaneously raided premises in relation to middlemen accused of helping to secure a contract with Nigeria's central bank.
Meanwhile, UK banknote printer De La Rue rocked the City with a £35 million first half charge over paper quality problems at one its UK plants. In July the world's biggest banknote printing company suspended production at a Hampshire plant over "quality and production irregularities" and the following month CEO James Hussey quit, saying he had to take responsibility for the problem.
De La Rue called in the Serious Fraud Office after establishing that staff "deliberately falsified" paper specification test certificates on banknotes believed to be destined for India. In a trading update issued Tuesday, the company says its production problems could lead to the loss of a top customer, knocking its shares to a four-year low. The Indian contract generates a quarter of De La Rue's annual profits.