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1.4 - Combating corporate crime

Overall status:
On-track

This commitment will strengthen Australia’s ability to prevent, detect and respond to corporate crime, particularly bribery of foreign public officials, money laundering and terrorism financing. We plan to do so by improving the effectiveness of our legislation and exploring options to encourage companies to self-report criminal behaviour.

This commitment will advance the OGP value of public accountability by strengthening our laws and improving our ability to detect and respond to corporate criminal behaviour, in consultation with the public.

This commitment was included in the National Action Plan to explore ways to better target and enforce our financial and corporate criminal laws and thereby reduce opportunities for corporate criminals to exploit Australia’s financial system for their own illicit gain.

Current status

Foreign bribery and DPAs (milestones 1 and 2)

The Minister for Justice released public discussion papers on a proposed deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) scheme (March 2017) and possible reform of laws applying to bribery of foreign public officials (April 2017).

Public consultations on foreign bribery and DPA proposed reforms closed on 1 May 2017.

The consultation process included engagement with non-government stakeholders through the Government Business Anti-Corruption Roundtable held on 31 March 2017 (the subject of commitment 4.2) and a further consultation event held on 27 April.

The Government is currently considering the proposed law reforms, which incorporate views expressed in the submissions and through the public consultation sessions.

AML/CTF Act review (milestone 3)

On 17 August 2017, the Minister for Justice, the Hon Michael Keenan MP, introduced the Anti‑Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Amendment Bill 2017 (the Bill) in the Parliament.

The Bill comprises the first phase of legislative reform implementing the recommendations of the statutory review of Australia’s AML/CTF regime and contains a number of measures to modernise the regime. 

The statutory review recommended the Government develop options for regulating ‘tranche two’ entities (lawyers, conveyancers, accountants, real estate agents, trust and company service providers and high-value dealers) under the AML/CTF regime and undertake a cost-benefit analysis (CBA) of the options developed.

The CBA was completed on 30 June 2017 and is currently being considered by the Minister for Justice.

If passed, the Bill would regulate digital currency exchange businesses under the AML/CTF regime. The Bill would also provide regulatory relief to industry, including by de-regulating the cash-in-transit sector and clarifying financial institutions’ correspondent banking due diligence obligations. The Bill is expected to result in estimated savings to industry each year for the ten years after the measures come into force of $36,086,393. This financial impact includes average annual regulatory costs of $662,221 for business and community organisations arising from measures to regulate digital currency exchange providers.

Should Government decide to regulate Tranche Two sectors, these sectors would be subject to obligations under the AML/CTF regime. The nature and extent of any such obligations would be considered during further consultation with industry.

Australian Securities and Investment Commission enforcement review taskforce (milestone 4)

The taskforce will be consulting on a number of issues, including penalties for corporate fraud, prior to the delivery of a final report to Government.

The Taskforce is led by a Panel chaired by the Department of the Treasury, and includes senior representatives from Australian Securities and Investments Commission, the Attorney-General’s Department, and the office of the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, with support from an Expert Group drawn from academia and legal experts recognised for their expertise in corporations, consumer, financial and credit law. The Expert Group is providing ongoing advice and feedback to the Panel in preparing its report and recommendations.

A final report will be provided to Government by the end of 2017.

Contact

Attorney-General’s Department: CriminalLaw@ag.gov.au (foreign bribery and deferred prosecution agreements scheme law reforms), antimoneylaundering@ag.gov.au (anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing matters)

The Treasury: ASICenforcementreview@treasury.gov.au

Other stakeholders

Government: Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity, Australian Federal Police, Australian Securities and Investments Commission, Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre, Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, The Department of the Treasury, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

Non-Government: industry, peak bodies (including Law Council of Australia), non-government organisations (including Australian Open Government Partnership Network, Accountability Round Table), academia and international partners

Steps to implementation

Implementation Step Implementation Period Status

AGD to review laws applying to foreign bribery and consult publicly on possible reform options.

Dec 2016 - Mar 2017 Completed

Respond to the consultation on a possible Australian DPA scheme and consult on possible models.

Dec 2016 - Jul 2017 Completed

Consult publicly on the recommendations from the statutory review of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 and associated Rules and Regulations, and implement legislative reforms.

2019 On-track

Final report of the ASIC enforcement review taskforce to Government.

2017 On-track

Status updates for commitments are provided approximately every two months. With each update, agencies are encouraged to provide further and better particulars of the commitment and its steps to implementation, which may result in changes to timelines outlined in Australia’s first Open Government National Action Plan 2016-18.

Last updated: 10/10/2017

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