[JURIST] Australian Attorney General Philip Ruddock said Thursday that the government plans to strengthen foreign bribery laws after a government commission concluded that the Australian Wheat Board (AWB) corporate website] paid roughly $220 million in kickbacks to Saddam Hussein's former regime to secure $2.3 billion in grain contracts under the now-defunct UN oil-for-food program [JURIST news archive]. The Cole Commission [official website] last year recommended that criminal charges be filed [CC materials; JURIST report] against 12 AWB executives, and also urged several changes to Australian law [recommendations summary].
The government tabled its response [text] to the Cole Commission recommendations in Parliament Thursday. According to a press release [text] from Ruddock's office, the government plans to introduce legislation:
Those convicted of breaching bribery laws could face a maximum 10-year jail sentence and a fine of up to three times the amount of the offending transaction. Australia's ABC News has more.
requiring applicants for licenses to import or export under United Nations sanctions to provide information to the Government; criminal penalties will apply for giving false or misleading information; creating a new offence for breaching UN sanctions; giving Government agencies the power to obtain evidence about suspected evasion of sanctions so they can be referred to law enforcement agencies; strengthening laws aimed at bribery of foreign officials; and making tax laws consistent with foreign bribery laws