RBA Dumps 50% Stake in Controversial Subsidiary Securency for $65M

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By Vittorio Hernandez | February 13, 2013 9:39 AM EST

Even if the subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), Securency, is figuratively and literally making money for the RBA, the central bank is dumping half of its share in the troubled company for $65 million.

While the RBA said the sale of its interest in the banknote printing venture to Innovia Films, a British film maker, is in line with its broad intent to exit from the project once Securency becomes established as a viable long-term supplier in the international market, an independent review placed doubts on the RBA's proper oversight over the firm.

With the sale, the RBA would earn $11 million more since a 2011 valuation estimated Securency's worth at $54 million.

While the RBA would dispose of half its stake in Securency, it would be the majority owners of another subsidiary, Note Printing Australia but would keep supply contracts with Securency.

Cameron Ralph, who headed the independent panel that reviewed the two subsidiaries amid allegations of corruption among the agents of the two companies to overseas officials to gain contracts, said the RBA could have done more oversight on the activities of the two central bank subsidiaries.

Although RBA Governor Glenn Stevens and former Deputy Governor Ric Battelino, who were implicated in the anomaly, denied wrongdoing, eight officials from Securency and NPA are facing charges over corruption involving contracts to print banknotes for Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Nepal.

Following the RBA announcement of the sale of its stake in Securency, former Opposition leader and RBA economist pushed for a Royal Commission investigation on the corruption charge.

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