By James LappePosted November 15, 2017 11:56:37Australia’s Labor government is being forced to explain how it is allowing a major Australian bank to fund companies that have been involved in human rights abuse in Cambodia.
The Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) is a non-profit organisation that oversees foreign investment in Australia.
In a statement to the ABC on Friday, it confirmed that the fund had received “a series of requests for information” in connection with the sale of shares in a Chinese property developer called The Lendings.
The statement did not detail the specific concerns the funds raised.
“The board has received a series of inquiries relating to The Lends and its activities,” it said.
“The board will continue to work with the relevant authorities to investigate these issues.”
A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said the fund would not be providing further details about the inquiry.
The ABC contacted the company’s office in China but did not receive a response.
The ABC has approached The Lenders for comment.
A spokesperson from The Lender’s spokesperson said the company would not comment.
Mr Turnbull said he had been contacted by an inquiry group for the inquiry group.
“There’s a number of inquiries that we’re involved in in Cambodia,” he said.
“I’m sorry, I don’t think there’s a great excuse for not having a very good relationship with the government in Cambodia.””
Mr Turnbull has faced criticism from some in the business community over his handling of the inquiry and the funding of the Chinese company.”
I’m sorry, I don’t think there’s a great excuse for not having a very good relationship with the government in Cambodia.”
Mr Turnbull has faced criticism from some in the business community over his handling of the inquiry and the funding of the Chinese company.
The Government has been accused of paying out money to the Lendons despite its clear policy to not engage in such deals with companies that engage in human right abuses.
In July, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced $1.3 million would be allocated to a “global partnership” to tackle the human rights crisis in Cambodia in a move that was hailed as a significant step towards ending the country’s brutal civil war.
But the Lenders fund has been a source of controversy.
Earlier this month, ABC News revealed that the company had donated $300,000 to a Chinese advocacy group called the World Federation of Cambodian Citizens (WFCC).
In a statement, the WFCC said the $300k was given “to support the WCFC’s campaign against the Chinese occupation of Cambodia”.
“We are deeply concerned that this donation has been made to a group whose activities are in violation of Cambodians’ human rights,” the statement said.
The $300K was part of a $10 million donation made by the Lender to the WFCC.
The WFCB said the donation to the group was for a “human rights education program”.
“The money was to be used for education programmes in Cambodia and in China,” the spokesperson said.
Mr Christensen said the decision to give the money to WFCD was not a political decision, but a financial one.
“I think that if you have a decision that is to support a particular cause or to help people in a particular way, that’s a good thing,” he told ABC Radio Melbourne.
“But in this particular case, I think it’s really unfortunate that a donation to a charity is made by a company that has a history of being involved in a number different human rights issues.”
The ABC has also received inquiries from other countries into the Lends fund.
On Thursday, Australia’s Senate Committee on Human Rights released a report that found there was evidence that Australian banks were involved in “financial crimes” including fraud, money laundering and bribery.
The report said a number in Australia’s financial industry were implicated in human trafficking and other forms of human trafficking.
“It is not possible to assess the effectiveness of the Lending fund in combating human trafficking in Cambodia as a whole,” it stated.
“However, the findings of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the International Labour Organization’s Convention on the Rights of the Child strongly suggest that it is an important and effective tool in combating this issue.”
Topics:business-economics-and-finance,human-interest,cambodia,china,australiaFirst posted November 15.