Pressure mounted Wednesday for an independent inquiry into allegations that the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) covered up evidence of bribery by its note-printing subsidiaries.
Eight executives from two firms either wholly or part-owned by the central bank -- NPA and Securency -- are facing claims they conspired to bribe officials at foreign banks to secure contracts to make plastic banknotes.
The scandal was exposed by Australian media in mid-2009 and police were called in, but a confidential memo has now emerged that suggests at least one senior RBA official knew of the allegations long before they became public.
The Sydney Morning Herald said it showed recently retired deputy governor Ric Battellino was given a detailed memo cataloguing alleged bribery and corruption inside NPA, or Note Printing Australia, in 2007.
Reports said the memo contradicted several statements made by central bank governor Glenn Stevens to a federal parliamentary committee in 2011 that the RBA did not know of bribes and corruption before the 2009 media reports.
The ABC also obtained the memo and in a response to the state broadcaster, the Reserve Bank said the memo was compiled at Battellino's request and was examined by lawyers for the board of NPA in 2007, but not handed to police.
"This document is part of the evidence in current proceedings before the court," the bank said.
"The Reserve Bank is prohibited from disclosing it pursuant to the normal rules of court and an order of the Supreme Court."
Sydney University corruption expert David Chaikin told the ABC the bank should have called in police immediately.
"I would rate it as a smoking gun because of the nature of the warnings," said Chaikin, a former adviser to the attorney-general's department.
The Australian Greens party said it would move for the establishment of a full independent inquiry.
"There are claims that tens of millions of dollars of public money has been spent illegally, bribing foreign officials," said Greens deputy leader Adam Bandt.
"We need to have complete confidence that the highest governance standards exist in the RBA.
"This scandal touches the key financial institution in this country, as well as other arms of government. We need a full-scale inquiry to clear the air and remove the cloud hanging over the RBA."
Independent senator Nick Xenophon also said the latest revelations must be investigated further.