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U.K. Arrest In Securency Case

The Guardian today reported the  arrest of a British businessman who allegedly paid for the son of a Vietnamese state bank governor to attend Durham University in the U.K. in exchange for a banknote printing deal.

Bill Lowther, a 71-year-old businessman knighted in Britain and Belgium, was charged by the Serious Fraud Office on September 8.

The SFO hasn’t mentioned the arrest. It usually posts news releases on its website on the day arrests are made in major corruption cases.

“The SFO and Australian police,” the Guardian said, “allege that the Securency executives bribed Le Duc Thuy, the then bank governor, to induce him to award the firm a contract to print Vietnam’s currency in 2003.”

The Guardian said it located the official’s son in Hanoi this summer. “He denied his education was funded through corrupt payments and said both the fees for his studying and his living costs while at Durham, totalling more than £10,000, were paid by his family,” the Guardian said.

Securency, the polymer banknote-maker half owned by the Reserve Bank of Australia, is under investigation in Australia and the U.K. Seven executives from the firm were arrested this year by Australian police for bribing officials in Vietnam, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

Lowther, the first person to be charged in the U.K in the growing scandal, will appear at the City of Westminster magistrates court in London on September 20.

Rob Evans was one of the reporters on the story for the Guardian. He broke the BAE bribery scandal.

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