Court papers reveal Australian official’s affair with Vietnamese spy
September 25, 2012 1 Comment
By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
A statement filed with a federal court in Australia reveals that a Vietnamese intelligence officer, who is accused of having received millions of dollars in bribes to secure an international business contract, had an affair with an Australian government official involved in the deal. Australian federal authorities allege that the officer, Anh Ngoc Luong, a Colonel with Vietnam’s General Department of Military Intelligence, received AU$20 million (US$20.8 million) from Securency, a subsidiary of the government-owned Reserve Bank of Australia. According to Australian government prosecutors, who are suing eight Reserve Bank executives for bribing Anh, the Vietnamese intelligence officer was secretly paid to help secure a contract for the provision of banknote technology services between Securency and the State Bank of Vietnam. But it now appears that, while helping secure the lucrative deal, Anh had at least “two isolated sexual encounters” with Elizabeth Masamune, who at the time was a senior official with the Australian Trade Commission. Known informally as Austrade, the Commission operates under the country’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and has offices in most Australian embassies and consulates around the world. It is tasked with representing Australia’s business interests abroad and helping Australian companies secure international business contracts. In a statement filed in court on Monday, Masamune said Anh had asked her out to dinner in the spring of 2002, while she was stationed in Vietnam. At the end of the dinner, the Vietnamese intelligence officer suggested that Masamune “go upstairs with him to a room in the hotel”. According to her statement, the Australian trade official agreed to do so “on the spur of the moment”. She added that her decision was motivated by her attraction to Anh and problems she was having in her marriage at the time. That incident was followed by a subsequent sexual interaction between the two at a later state, after Masamune had left her Vietnam post. In her statement, Masamune claims that her affair with Anh had nothing to do with the business deal then under negotiation and that Anh’s sexual advances toward her were not related to the Securency banknote contract. However, the court is reportedly in possession of an email Masamune sent to Securency officials in July of 2002, shortly after her first sexual encounter with Anh, in which she urged them to “lower the quoted price” they were offering to the State Bank of Vietnam, in accordance with Anh’s wishes. The case continues.