A New Dawn for Corporate Australia’s Foreign Bribery Prosecution Risk – A “Failure To Prevent” Offence and Absolute Liability Have Arrived

March 2024
Region: Asia Pacific

After years of parliamentary prevarication spanning three governments, on 29 February 2024, the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Combatting Foreign Bribery) Bill passed both houses of federal Parliament and will soon come into force.

As we explained in June 2023 when the bill was first tabled, the amending legislation will introduce a new “absolute liability” offence into the Commonwealth Criminal Code for a failure to prevent bribery of foreign public offcials by a company’s “associates”.  That term is defined broadly to include employees, contractors, agents, subsidiaries and “a person that otherwise performs services on behalf of a corporation”.