The Australian Federal Police and the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions this month released new joint guidance to assist companies in self-reporting foreign bribery.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has primary law enforcement responsibility for investigating serious or complex fraud and corruption against the Commonwealth.

The “AFP and CDPP Best Practice Guideline: Self-reporting of foreign bribery and related offending by corporations” provides a clear framework for self-reporting suspected incidents. The guidance clarifies the AFP and CDPP principles and process applied for self-reported activity associated with foreign bribery, money laundering, false documents, and false accounting.

AFP Manager Criminal Assets, Fraud and Anti-Corruption, Commander Peter Crozier said the guidelines would clarify expectations on companies assisting in investigations: “Investigations into foreign bribery and similar offences can be complex and protracted. That’s why we have consulted extensively with CDPP, business groups and the private sector to produce a framework that will clarify our processes and expectations during investigations.”

“It’s pleasing to see that corporations are keen to introduce mechanisms to enhance cooperation with law enforcement,” Crozier  added. “This guideline aims to help them model best practice in corporate governance and take action if they suspect a breach.”

Berdj Tchakerian, the CDPP’s Acting Deputy Director of the Commercial, Financial and Corruption Group, said that the guidance also provides companies and their advisors with important information about when a self-reporting company might be prosecuted. “The guideline operates within the framework of the ‘Prosecution Policy of the Commonwealth’ and details key information on how the ‘public interest’ test may be applied in deciding whether to prosecute a self-reporting corporation,” he said.

The release of this guidance, along with proposed legislative amendments introduced into the Parliament on Dec 6., 2017, which incorporates a new offence of failing to prevent foreign bribery, along with the introduction of deferred prosecution agreements (DPAs), provide the AFP and CDPP with further tools to use in the detection, investigation, and prosecution of foreign bribery and related offenses.

The release of the guidelines delivers on recommendations made by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in its Phase 3 report into Australia’s implementation of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention to develop a clear framework to address the nature and degree of cooperation of a corporation where foreign bribery or related activity is suspected to have taken place.