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Telstra, the country’s largest telecommunications company, is a giant in the mobile phone industry.
But it’s also a very public company.
Its corporate logo features a big, red dot, its iconic red and black stripes, and the word “TELSTRA” scrawled across its back.
Its stock price is $5.60.
The company has made a name for itself in recent years, taking on rivals such as Vodafone and Vodacom, which are also big players in the Australian market.
But the telco is still struggling with a series of scandals that have left it with a reputation as a major offender.
Telstra has been hit by scandals involving its own employees, the alleged sale of fake data on mobile phones, and its handling of customer complaints.
But most recently, it has been accused of paying bribes to senior executives to secure favourable contracts with overseas phone companies.
Telco has faced criticism for its handling the massive Telstra T-Mobile deal.
The deal allowed Telstra to buy the majority of Telstra’s wireless operations in Australia and Australia to Vodacon, a French company that was already a major player in the telecommunications sector.
The deal was widely criticised by consumer groups, consumer rights groups, and even the Federal Court, and it is still being investigated by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
The Australian Competition Commission is now looking into the matter.
One of the biggest controversies surrounding Telstra in recent times was the controversial T-mobile deal, where it bought out the rival mobile phone provider.
A series of investigations into the deal has led to charges of illegal conduct.
In the latest scandal, Telstra was accused of secretly paying off senior executives in exchange for favourable contracts from overseas phone firms.
In October, Telstar, a subsidiary of Vodacons mobile phone company, was also accused of allegedly paying bribes in return for a contract.
On Thursday, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Federal Government launched an investigation into Telstra for allegedly using undisclosed amounts of money to buy out rival Vodalax, a joint venture between Vodaplex and Telstra.
The investigation into Vodax began after a whistleblower, David Fenton, who worked in Telstra operations, revealed he was paid by Telstra from his Telstra account in return a Telstra contract with Vodas network, which was in turn signed by Telstar.
“The matter is of great concern to the Australian public,” ASIC commissioner Michael Griggs said.
“This is a matter of great public concern, and that is why we have commenced this investigation.”
We will continue to pursue and pursue to the full extent of the law and of the authority that we have.
“In his complaint to the ACCC, Mr Fenton alleged that Telstra had secretly paid him in cash, with Telstar paying in return the use of VODAS technology in the Telstra network.”
It is a clear case of the commission accepting this information from Mr Fonter and the commission agreeing that the commission was prepared to proceed with its investigation, given the circumstances,” ASIC deputy commissioner Scott Thurlow said.
Mr Thurlows complaint is not the first time ASIC has made inquiries into Telstral.
In 2013, ASIC also launched an inquiry into Teltel’s alleged payments to a Vodaco lobbyist in a bid to stop the merger.
In January, ASIC said the telcos had been “incredibly aggressive” in their dealings with Vadacom.
The Telstra deal has not been the only time Telstra has made headlines in recent months.
In August, it was revealed that Telster had been involved in the creation of a new mobile phone system that was being rolled out in a state where the telcom was already in a dominant position.
In September, a Senate inquiry into the telvo deal was criticised for not looking at the telstra deal directly, instead focusing on whether it was legal.