By Business editor Peter Ryan and staff
Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens has given a lengthy rebuttal of allegations that the central bank covered up a note-printing scandal facing two of its subsidiary companies.
Former executives from two firms owned by the RBA are facing allegations they paid bribes to win contracts overseas.
Mr Stevens has confirmed one of the agencies, Securency, only called in the Federal Police once it learned a newspaper was planning to run a story on the allegations.
He has told the House of Representatives Economics Committee that, overall, the RBA wanted the allegations looked at because of precedents with other government agencies.
The Age newspaper and the ABC's 7.30 program has reported claims of a cover-up of bribery allegations made against Securency and Note Printing Australia.
The RBA's former deputy governor, Ric Battellino, was aware of the allegations two years before they became public.
He says he did not tell an earlier parliamentary committee what he knew because a whistleblower had asked for secrecy.
"If I have one regret about all this, it's the fact that the bank or myself put his interests ahead of our own," he said.
Read Glenn Stevens' statement here
The appearance of Mr Stevens comes as he is being touted as a contender to take the top job at the Bank of England.
Mr Stevens is highly regarded worldwide after helping steer Australia through the global financial crisis.
Listen to my report from this morning's edition of AM.
The speculation that Mr Stevens is in the running for the UK central bank's top job is based on a report from the Sunday Times newspaper in London.
It quotes unnamed sources who say Mr Stevens has been approached by Britain's treasury department.
Applications for the job close at 6:30pm (AEDT).
According to the advertisement, the new Bank of England governor will be required to implement "major reforms".
Mr Stevens is widely regarded as the most successful central banker in the developed world, so he has a resume to match the job description.
However, there are questions over whether he would be willing to accept a large pay cut to take on what is arguably a tougher role than his current position.
Mr Stevens earns just under $1 million a year, making him much better paid than his counterparts at the US Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank and the Bank of England, where the governor's role comes in around $480,000 a year.
Another reason it is being regarded as an unlikely move is that Mr Stevens would have to edge out some high-profile local candidates such as the Bank of England's deputy governor Paul Tucker.
Mr Stevens's seven-year term as the head of the RBA expires in September next year.
The Reserve Bank says it has no comment on the reports.