The OECD has released its fourth report on Australia's efforts to combat foreign bribery
The OECD has released its Phase 4 report on Australia's implementation of international anti-bribery instruments. The report notes that since the Phase 3 evaluation, Australia has made several legislative and institutional reforms aimed at combatting foreign bribery. In particular, the OECD commends Australia's Crimes Legislation Amendment (Combatting Corporate Crime) Bill 2017 and overall increase in enforcement of foreign bribery offences. However, the report also highlights areas for improvement, including addressing the risk of foreign bribery proceeds being laundered through Australian real estate, and proactively pursuing criminal charges against companies for foreign bribery and related offences, including false accounting, money laundering and tax evasion. The full report can be found here.
Australian Government agencies release joint guidelines to assist corporations in self-reporting foreign bribery
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) have jointly released Best Practice Guidelines to assist corporations in self-reporting foreign bribery. The Guidelines explain the principles and processes the AFP and CDPP will apply when dealing with self-reporting by companies of foreign bribery, including information about how the ‘public interest’ test in the CDPP’s Prosecution Policy might apply to a self-reporting company. The Guidelines go hand-in-hand with amendments to the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Combatting Corporate Crime) Bill 2017 which was introduced into the Senate on 6 December last year. For more information on the Bill, see our briefing, 'New Australian Measures to Combat Corporate Crime'. The Guidelines can be found here.
AUSTRAC makes new rules on anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing
The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) has introduced the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing Rules Instrument 2018 which amends existing anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML / CTF) rules. This Instrument implements a number of the recommendations made in Part 19 of the ‘Report on the Statutory Review of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 and Associated Rules and Regulations’, tabled in Parliament on 29 April 2016. Reporting entities will be required to incorporate AUSTRAC guidance into their AML / CTF programs. Other changes give greater flexibility to reporting entities, for example reporting entities subject to foreign disclosure requirements will no longer need to establish the foreign requirements are comparable to requirements in Australia. For more information, please see our briefing 'Practical Changes to the AML/CTF Rules will Benefit Affected Businesses'.
Australia's Parliament inquires into the impact of new and emerging technology on law enforcement and investigation
The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Law Enforcement is conducting an inquiry into new and emerging information and communications technology and its impact on Australian law enforcement. In its submissions to the Committee, Australia's corporate watchdog, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) warned that phenomena such as the dark web and cryptocurrencies could be used to facilitate white collar crime. ASIC is pushing for broader search warrant and investigatory powers, including the ability to investigate undercover. Submissions closed on 12 January 2018 and can be viewed here.
Australian Parliamentary Inquiry recommends modern slavery reporting and compliance measures
In December last year, Australia’s Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade released the final report on its inquiry into establishing a Modern Slavery Act in Australia. The Committee recommends several compliance measures, including mandatory reporting on modern slavery risks for supply chains of companies operating in Australia and restrictions on government procurement from companies who fail to report. For more information, please see our briefing, 'Establishing an Australian Modern Slavery Act and its Impact on Australian Business'.