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File this one under 'Who's guarding the guards?'

October 13, 2017 - 00:16 -- Admin

The politicians forming Australian state and federal governments assure us they are upright, ethical people with histories as pure as the driven snow. They tell us their advisors are trustworthy beyond doubt and their senior public service appointees & finance/security consultants ditto. While their big business mates like Gina, Twiggy and Co are genuinely true blue and philanthropic.Yet, as step by step these same politicians lead us towards authoritarian governance and Big Brother mass surveillance, their feet of clay can’t help but show.North Coast Voices readers may remember that SMEC Holdings Limited (now SMEC and Surbana Jurong) has been a favourite of Malcolm Turnbull's since he was the Minister for the Environment and Water Resouces in the Howard Government ministry.This company provided an error-ridden desktop study for Turnbull supporting damming and diverting water from NSW North Coast river systems, with a preference for visiting this environmental vandalism on the Clarence River system.It is now allegedly a corrupt multinational corpration.The Age, 4 October 2017:An arm of the company tasked with advising the Turnbull government on its signature infrastructure project, Snowy Hydro 2.0, has been banned by the World Bank for alleged bribery and corruption, prompting further calls for a federal anti-corruption watchdog……Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull poses for a photo during his announcement of Snowy Hydro 2.0 in March.Photo: Alex EllinghausenEngineering company SMEC had five of its subsidiaries banned by the World Bank last week after an investigation into "inappropriate payments" linked to projects in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. SMEC was chosen to undertake the $29 million feasibility study back in May and the work is due to be finished by the end of the year. The firm was selected by the state and federal government-owned Snowy Hydro corporation, which runs the current power plant.Last year, Fairfax Media revealed the details of some of the allegations around improper payments involving SMEC, including allegedly corrupt dealings between the firm and Sri Lankan president Maithripala Sirisena when he was a cabinet minister in 2009.Those dealings and others are still under investigation by the federal police.This is one wealthy individual audited by the Australian Taxation Office - venture capitalist and independent consultant to business & government for over twelve years, Anthony ‘Tony’ Castagna.The Sydney Morning Herald, 7 October 2017:Anthony Castagna's company helps protect the cyber secrets and detect financial crimes within the world's most powerful institutions, including the Serious Fraud Office in Britain, US Homeland Security, the Australian defence force, ASIC, even the Office of the President of the US.Now the Sydney-based co-founder and chairman of Nuix, majority owned by Macquarie Bank, faces a potential 20-year jail term after being charged with tax evasion and dealing with the proceeds of crime.Dr Castagna, 70, has been the target of two of Nuix's major clients: the Australian Federal police and the Australian Tax Office through Project Wickenby, their long-running tax probe.The charges relate to payments from Macquarie Bank which were allegedly channelled into offshore companies controlled by his cousin Robert Agius, who was sentenced to a non-parole period of 6 years and 8 months' jail in 2012 for operating unrelated tax avoidance schemes via his Vanuatu-based accountancy firm.In addition to Dr Castagna's criminal charges, the ATO is pursuing him for unpaid taxes and penalties in excess of $10 million.For decades, the tech guru has been a rainmaker for Macquarie Bank. The bank has ploughed millions of dollars into his cyber security and forensic services company Nuix. A totally owned Macquarie Group subsidiary owns more than 70 per cent of Nuix and over the last year Macquarie advisors have been talking up a billion-dollar float of Nuix on the Australian stock exchange....Dr Castagna, who denies any wrongdoing and is vigorously defending the charges....