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Australian Gov’t Announces Crackdown On Foreign Bribery

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SYDNEY – The Australian Government has announced a major crackdown on
foreign bribery, China’s Xinhua news agency reported.

Speaking at the headquarters of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) in
Melbourne on Tuesday, Australia’s Justice Minister Michael Keenan announced
tough new laws to ensure that perpetrators bribing foreign officials faced the
full force of the law.

Under the new laws, the definition of foreign public official will be
changed to include those who are running for office and bribery offences will be
extended to include incidents where a bribe is paid to gain personal advantage.

Additionally, a new corporate offence for failing to prevent foreign
bribery will be created.

Corruption costs Australia an estimated 6.46 billion U.S. dollars every
year.

“Foreign bribery is a serious offence. It harms those who play by the
rules, siphons money away from local communities and undermines the rule of
law,” Keenan told reporters on Tuesday.

“But foreign bribery is also very difficult to detect and enforce;
offending is often offshore, evidence is hard to identify and it can easily be
concealed as a legitimate transaction,” Keenan said.

Keenan committed 10 million U.S. dollars annually in 2016 to develop
specialist anti-corruption teams focused on foreign bribery in Melbourne, Perth
and Sydney.

The AFP is currently investigating 35 cases involving foreign bribery,
Keenan said.

“Importantly, through this work, investigators are continuing to regularly
engage with private industry to raise awareness of the risks associated with
operating in foreign jurisdictions, and working to enhance the culture of
corporate integrity and ethical business practices within Australian companies,”
he said.
— BERNAMA

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