Christanto Cooperating in Australia Banknotes Bribes Case

Radius Christanto, an Indonesian businessman accused of conspiracy to bribe foreign officials, is cooperating with Australian authorities and may be a witness for them, his lawyer said.

“He’s an extremely valuable witness or a star witness,” Christanto’s lawyer Hamidul Haq told a Singapore subordinate court today that agreed the Indonesian, who isn’t challenging his extradition to Australia, be surrendered.

At least nine former managers and employees at Note Printing Australia Ltd, the money-printing unit of the country’s central bank, and Securency International Pty, the unit it formerly part owned, were charged in relation to the bribing of officials in Malaysia, Indonesia, Nepal and Vietnam from 1999 to 2004 to win banknote printing contracts.

Australian authorities have acknowledged that statements Christanto gave them have been very helpful, Haq told the Singapore court today. Christanto, 64, has lived in Singapore since 1989.

Australia boosted penalties for foreign bribery offenses in 2010 to a maximum fine of A$1.7 million ($1.5 million) and as much as 10 years in jail for an individual and A$17 million for corporations. The law allows “facilitation payments,” or the providing of “minor” benefits to people who can expedite a routine government action.

David Ellery, the former chief financial officer at Securency, pleaded guilty to one charge of false accounting and was given a six-month suspended sentence last August after agreeing to testify for the prosecution.

The Singapore case is Public Prosecutor v Christanto Radius W/APP 5/2012. Singapore Subordinate Courts.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.