Adequate Procedures – Attorney General Provides Draft Guidance on How Australian Companies Should Prepare for the New Absolute Liability Foreign Bribery Offence

May 2024
Region: Asia Pacific

The Crimes Legislation Amendment (Combatting Foreign Bribery) Act 2024 passed through the Federal Parliament in February 2024 and introduces a new corporate offence into the Commonwealth Criminal Code for a failure to prevent foreign bribery, based on an equivalent offence in the UK Bribery Act. The offence will apply where an associate of a corporation has committed bribery for the profit or gain of the corporation. However, a corporation will not be liable under the “failure to prevent” offence if it can prove it had “adequate procedures” in place designed to prevent its associates from committing foreign bribery.

The legislation requires the attorney general to provide guidance to Australian companies (and companies with operations in Australia) on the steps that can be taken to establish adequate procedures to prevent foreign bribery occurring. The guidance has now been released that outlines the fundamental concepts to consider when implementing an essential anti-bribery compliance program. With the six-month honeymoon period coming to an end in the second half of 2024, companies have a relatively short period of time to implement adequate procedures to avoid falling foul of the new corporate foreign bribery offence.

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