Australian Foreign Bribery Review 2012 - what does 2013 herald?

Articles Written by Robert Wyld (Consultant), Jasmine Forde

The last 12 months saw a flourish of activity in the foreign bribery space. The Securency prosecution secured its first plea of guilty and conviction of a former company CFO, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) published their much awaited FCPA Resources Guide and Australia's foreign bribery was under the OECD spotlight.

2013 is likely to see an increasing focus on cross-border corruption investigations, closer cooperation between regulatory agencies and a gradual move to ban facilitation payments.

For Australian companies that trade offshore, provide goods and services in US or UK currency, who undertake email communications using US-based or UK-based email servers or who otherwise engage in conduct which might impact upon US-based investors or any regulatory laws, even if done outside the foreign country, you are at risk of being subject to the strict and severe anti-bribery laws in those countries. It is critical that such companies understand how those laws may apply to you and if they may do so, to have a robust and meaningful ethical culture so that your business "lives the ethical life".

Even if companies trade wholly within Australia, our domestic laws promote organisations that act ethically and sanction those that do not. All companies must be alert to their ethical values and the risks that are associated with questionable behaviour, often made more attractive in challenging economic times.

Important Disclaimer: The material contained in this article is comment of a general nature only and is not and nor is it intended to be advice on any specific professional matter. In that the effectiveness or accuracy of any professional advice depends upon the particular circumstances of each case, neither the firm nor any individual author accepts any responsibility whatsoever for any acts or omissions resulting from reliance upon the content of any articles. Before acting on the basis of any material contained in this publication, we recommend that you consult your professional adviser. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation (Australia-wide except in Tasmania).

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