The bribery of foreign public officials, also known as foreign bribery, is a complex area that requires the collaboration of multiple partners to successfully investigate. In a recent communication, the Australian Government outlines which Australian Federal Agencies are involved in combating foreign bribery, as well as their roles and responsibilities.
AGD has whole-of-government policy responsibility for foreign bribery. Key aspects of this role include:
- Maintaining an effective legal and policy regime
- Undertaking outreach to raise businesses’ awareness of the foreign bribery laws
- Leading Australia’s engagement with the OECD Working Group on Bribery on our compliance with the Anti-Bribery Convention.
AGD is the central authority responsible for extradition and mutual assistance, and also leads engagement in a range of international initiatives focussed on combatting corruption, such as the United Nations Convention against Corruption.
Australian Federal Police (AFP)
The AFP is responsible for investigating offences against Commonwealth law, including the offence of bribing a foreign public official. The AFP works closely with other Australian and international law enforcement bodies to enhance safety and security in Australia and to provide a secure regional and global environment. Corruption, including bribery of a foreign public official, is an area of high priority for the AFP.
Key AFP initiatives in the fight against foreign bribery and corruption include establishing:
- The Fraud and Anti-Corruption Centre in 2014 – brings together 12 other Commonwealth agencies including the ACIC, ASIC and ATO.
- An internal Foreign Bribery Panel of Experts made up of senior investigators with experience in significant foreign bribery investigations.
Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)
ASIC regulates Australian companies, financial markets, financial services organisations and professionals who deal and advise in financial products and advice, superannuation, insurance, deposit-taking and credit.
ASIC is responsible for investigating fraudulent and deceptive conduct in relation to financial services, which may potentially occur outside Australia. ASIC and the AFP work closely together in the investigation of instances of suspected foreign bribery, however the AFP has primary responsibility for this crime type.
ASIC conducts prosecutions for some summary offences which it has investigated. Indictable offences and other summary offences are referred to the CDPP.
Australian Taxation Office (ATO)
The ATO is involved when appropriate, in foreign bribery matters referred to the AFP. The ATO has also published guidelines which provide tax officers with practical ways to identify how a taxpayer may be concealing bribe transactions to an Australian or foreign public official.
Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade)
Austrade can assist Australian companies in anti-bribery compliance in a range of ways including providing practical guidance on conducting trade in foreign countries, and helping to resolve an issue if a company experiences difficulties because it refuses to pay a bribe.
Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC)
AUSTRAC is Australia’s anti-money laundering regulator and specialist Financial Intelligence Unit and is responsible for ensuring the collection, analysis and dissemination of financial intelligence to its designated law enforcement, national security, revenue collection and social welfare partner agencies.
Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP)
The primary role of the CDPP is to prosecute offences against Commonwealth law, including the Criminal Code and Corporations Act.
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)
DFAT undertakes outreach to ensure that Australian businesses are aware of their obligations under Australian anti-bribery laws. DFAT refers all information concerning allegations of foreign bribery offences committed by Australians and Australian companies to the AFP for evaluation of any potential breach of Australian laws.
Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (Efic)
Efic is Australia’s export credit agency (ECA). Its role is to ensure that Australian businesses with viable export and international business opportunities have the finance to succeed in international markets. Efic has developed Transactional Anti-Bribery Procedures, which apply to all transactions and potential transactions being considered by Efic, including SMEs, mid-market and project finance transactions.