PNG 'dirty money' trail leads to Australia
Millions of dollars allegedly corruptly obtained from the PNG government have been siphoned to Australian banks, confidential banking documents reveal.
Fairfax Media has also confirmed that Australian bank NAB recently increased its due diligence on some money transfers from PNG due to corruption concerns.
The allegedly dirty money stems from a corruption scandal gripping PNG that has led to the suspension of senior government officials and Prime Minister Peter O'Neill last month asking the Australian Federal Police and Interpol to help investigate.
Mr O'Neill also threatened to sack all staff in the country's Finance Department after allegations in Parliament implicating top officials and prominent lawyers. On one day in October last year, a bank account linked to Mr Paraka wired about $80,000 in three transactions to his Australian-based wives and girlfriends, including one who lives in Sydney's Star City casino complex. Between February 2012 and February this year, almost $3 million was transferred to Australia from bank accounts linked to Mr Paraka. PNG investigators believe most of these funds were corruptly obtained.
The ability of Mr Paraka - who denies any wrongdoing - to transfer suspicious amounts of money raises questions about what Australian banks, the federal police and the anti-money-laundering agency, Austrac, are doing to block or investigate dirty money.
The ease with which allegedly corrupt PNG officials and businessmen can transfer money to Australia is becoming an increasing concern for law enforcement officials in both countries.