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Bribery in international business

Australia should promptly adopt long-standing reforms to boost enforcement of its foreign bribery offence

 

13/12/2023 - The Working Group on Bribery welcomes the introduction in Parliament of the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Combatting Foreign Bribery) Bill 2023 but urges Australia to adopt it without delay. 

Foreign bribery reforms contained in the Bill have lapsed before Parliament on two previous occasions. Considering the Bill’s potential to enhance Australia’s fight against foreign bribery, the Working Group calls for its enactment at the earliest opportunity.

The Crimes Legislation Amendment (Combatting Corporate Crime) Bill, introduced in Parliament in 2017 and 2019 under Australia’s previous government and which never passed, similarly proposed to create a “failure to prevent” foreign bribery offence and amend Australia’s existing foreign bribery offence. It also proposed to introduce a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) scheme.

Noting that the new Bill does not include a DPA scheme, the Working Group encourages Australia to consider introducing such a scheme into its arsenal of resolution mechanisms in the future. Such a scheme could significantly boost Australia’s enforcement of the foreign bribery offence against companies. The 2019 Working Group on Bribery’s Study on Resolving Foreign Bribery Cases with Non-trial Resolutions found that mechanisms such as DPAs drive enforcement and facilitate cross-country co-operation and co‑ordination of foreign bribery resolutions. An extensive consultation process undertaken by Australia in 2017-2018 on a proposal to introduce a DPA scheme garnered strong support from civil society and private sector representatives.

For further information, journalists are invited to contact the OECD's Media Relations Division on (33) 1 45 24 97 00 or [email protected]. For more information on the implementation of the Anti-Bribery Convention in Australia and the OECD’s work to fight corruption, please visit https://www.oecd.org/daf/anti-bribery/australia-oecdanti-briberyconvention.htm and  www.oecd.org/corruption-integrity/.

 

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