Sydney: A Reserve Bank of Australia currency firm engaged an Indian middleman implicated in the Iraq oil-for-food scam, a revelation that can change the course of inquiry into a bribery scandal in the country.
The agent, Aditya Khanna, engaged by the banknote firm `Securency` - which is the subject of Australia`s biggest foreign bribery investigation - is related to senior politician Natwar Singh, and has been raided by Indian police in connection with suspect arms deals, the Sydney Morning Herald reported Sunday.
Securency hired Khanna, a businessman, and his Delhi-based firm DSSI Group to help get its plastic banknotes circulating in India.
A DSSI Group executive last week confirmed his company`s link to Securency, the report said. The RBA declined to comment.
Like the wheat marketing company AWB Ltd of Australia, Khanna was named in the UN Volcker inquiry in 2006 as having profited from oil-for-food programme contracts that included kickbacks to Saddam Hussein`s regime in Iraq.
The Volcker inquiry sparked a royal commission in Australia into AWB`s role as the biggest rorter of the UN programme.
The revelation of Khanna`s role with the RBA firm is likely to embarrass the Australian and Indian governments and their central banks, especially after Securency recently won a contract from the Reserve Bank of India to supply one billion polymer banknotes for a trial, the report said.