Satyam fraud shatters Geelong's Silicon Valley dreams

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Geelong (Australia), Aug. 3 (ANI): The Silicon Valley dream for the Australian city of Geelong were shattered when the massive accounting fraud with its potential partner, Indian IT giant Satyam surfaced in January this year.

ollowing job losses in the car manufacturing sector, Geelong could not have asked for more when the plan was proposed for a massive 75 million dollar IT hub at Deakin University. It promised to help create 2000 jobs.

The Deakin IT plan, which was to be bolstered by cash from the state and federal governments, the Geelong Council and 10 hectares of free land from Deakin University, was to entice Indian IT giant Satyam to establish a new ''software development and training campus'' at Deakin's Waurn Ponds campus on the outskirts of Geelong.

The plan appeared assured last April when Victoria's Premier John Brumby and then Satyam chairman Rama Raju visited Geelong to announce the deal.

"It is a fantastic outcome that will involve 75 million dollars of new investment in Geelong by Satyam, will create over the next eight years up to 2000 new jobs in Geelong with Satyam. In cricket parlance, this is a great partnership; it is almost like Sachin Tendulkar and Steve Waugh coming together in a great partnership," Brumby told Parliament.

But now Raju and his brother Ramalinga Raju have been jailed after Ramalinga Raju admitting to a massive one billion dollar accounting fraud in January.

The Australian Government has refused to offer any money for the project and the Geelong council is believed to have had its contribution refunded. The World Bank has also banned Satyam from providing computer services.

"The Satyam fiasco is a case study on the Brumby Government - grandiose announcements that come to nothing, secret deals that cost taxpayers untold sums of money and incompetent project management," shadow treasurer Kim Wells said.

What is clear is Victoria is out of pocket. In August last year.

The State Government will not say how much was paid, or whether any has been refunded.

"It is too early to comment on the future of this project at this stage," said Matt Nurse, spokesman for Information and Communication Technology Minister John Lenders. (ANI)

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