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November 18, 2011

Are facilitation payments bribes?

The Minister for Home Affairs has released a public consultation paper on possible changes to Australia’s anti‑foreign bribery laws.

The Criminal Code (Cth) provides an offence for bribing foreign public officials.

The facilitation payment defence provides a defence to the offence of foreign bribery if:

  • the value of the benefit was of a minor nature; and
  • the person’s conduct was engaged in for the sole or dominant purpose of expediting or securing the performance of a routine government action of a minor nature; and
  • as soon as practicable after the conduct occurred, the person made a record of the conduct.

The Government is reviewing:

•the treatment of ‘facilitation payments’ under Australian law
•the factors that influence whether a benefit is ‘legitimately due’ to the recipient
•the current requirement to identify a particular foreign public official in order to establish an offence, and
•the role of dishonesty in domestic corruption offences.

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Posted 18th November 2011 by David Jacobson in Anti-money laundering, Business Planning, Compliance