The year in Australia for foreign bribery and corruption matters
has been mixed. While the singular Securency prosecution has become
delayed in legal argument with the committal hearing yet to be
completed, the Australian media has been at the forefront of
promoting a greater awareness of foreign bribery issues and taking
to task corporations and management (ranging from allegations
concerning the Reserve Bank banknote printing scandal, BHP Billiton
and tainted Olympic medal minting contracts, Oz Minerals and
Cambodian mining sagas and Leighton Holdings construction projects
in the Middle East) who appear, at least in the eyes of the media,
to be less than diligent in their compliance and ethical
In September 2013, Australia changed government from a Labor to
a conservative (Liberal/National) government. Whether or not
foreign bribery and its regulation and enforcement are of interest
to the current government is unclear as they have said almost
nothing on the topic. It is hoped international momentum in
combating foreign bribery and commercial corruption continues to
germinate in Australia, albeit very slowly and becomes more of a
focus during 2014.
Australia's corruption reputation
The Transparency International Corruption Perception Index
2013 was released earlier this month and, surprise surprise,
Australia's ranking amongst the stars in cleanliness dropped
from 85 in 2012 to 81 in 2013.
While Australia was still ranked as the 9th "cleanest"
country in the world and the 3rd cleanest country in the Asia
Pacific region, the constant flow of media attention on the topic,
particularly the criminal prosecution of the Securency and Note
Printing Australia executives through to the offshore activities of
BHP Billiton, Oz Minerals and Leighton Holdings to the NSW
State-based corruption investigations of various former politicians
and crown ministers, it does not take much publicity to generate a
negative perception that Australia is perhaps not as clean as it
would like to be seen. Clearly, further work needs to be done to
address these perceptions.
ASIC chairman confirmed that ASIC will continue its tough stance against suspected insider trading.
Some comments from our readers… “The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable” “I often find critical information not available elsewhere” “As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).