This legislation proposes to strengthen Australia’s enforcement response to foreign bribery. It will introduce a new corporate offence for failure to prevent an associate (such as an employee, agent or subsidiary) from bribing a foreign public official and introduces a Commonwealth deferred prosecution agreement scheme for specified corporate offences related to bribery and other financial crimes.
Australia’s powerful confiscation laws ensure there can be no profit in bribery. Under the Proceeds of Crime Act, law enforcement agencies are equipped with a range of powers to trace, restrain and confiscate proceeds of crime against Commonwealth laws such as foreign bribery. Any asset can potentially be subject to confiscation if it is the ‘proceeds' or an 'instrument' of a Commonwealth offence.
Foreign bribery is a serious offence attracting significant penalties. Under section 70.2 of the Criminal Code, individuals face a fine of up to AUD$2.2 million and 10 years imprisonment for the bribery of foreign public officials. Companies face even larger fines including up to 10% of their annual turnover. There are also offences for related misconduct, such as false accounting and money laundering.