Australia: Miners BHP Billiton, Woodside, Orica warn investments at risk from proposed foreign bribery laws

Author(s): Nassim Khadem | Date: May 17, 2017 | Language: English
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Mining giants BHP Billiton, Woodside and Orica have warned the federal government against going too far in strengthening Australia’s foreign bribery laws, saying it could put local companies at risk and prevent them from taking up new investments overseas.
In submissions as part of proposed federal reforms to boost local foreign bribery laws, the miners argue that Australia would be more successful at hunting bribery crime if it allowed Australian companies under investigation to cut deals with federal police in order to avoid criminal prosecution.
Other countries, including the US and UK, allow what’s known as a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA). By this scheme a company charged with foreign bribery offences willingly admits to a crime – as well as paying a fine and making changes to ensure it doesn’t happen again – and can avoid prosecution.