Global effort to tackle foreign bribery and corruption strengthened by international taskforce partnerships

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Australia’s global law enforcement partners have met in Sydney this week to discuss ways to tackle foreign bribery across international borders.

The five-day conference for the specialised International Foreign Bribery Taskforce (IFBT) involves law enforcement representatives from the Australian Federal Police (AFP), the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency (NCA).

The IFBT, formally established in 2013, meets annually to share operational updates on ongoing investigations, and to discuss ways member countries can work closer together to exchange real-time intelligence. This year’s meeting in Sydney is the second time Australia has hosted the IFBT members on our shores, since the inaugural conference in 2013.

Foreign bribery and corrupt behaviour strikes at the heart of a nation – it is not a victimless crime. Corruption detracts from government priorities and can impact on the most vulnerable communities in developing nations.

AFP Commander Peter Crozier, Manager of Criminal Assets, Fraud and Anti-Corruption, said information sharing with international partners is critical to ensuring operational connections strengthen and remain strong to address the global nature of this crime type.

 “We know there are significant challenges in gathering evidence in these investigations, and that’s where the real benefit lies in the strong relationships forged with our overseas partners through taskforces like the IFBT,” Commander Crozier said.

“We’re not only working in new and innovative ways to learn from each other, but we have been leveraging off the lessons learned from past investigations across international borders. There is much we have learned to date, and so much more to learn from each other into the future.”

Stephen Richardson, Assistant Director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, said; “the FBI values our continued partnership with the International Foreign Bribery Taskforce (IFBT) member agencies.”

“This task force enables agencies to share information expeditiously, allowing for more efficient investigations into complex international bribery schemes. The FBI will continue to invest in this close working relationship and exchange information and intelligence.”

RCMP Assistant Commissioner Paula Dionne, Officer in Charge of Federal Policing Special Services, said the IFBT provides an international platform for a network of specialised investigators to discuss and coordinate their response to foreign bribery.

“Through the IFBT's annual conference, the RCMP shares best practices and works to identify potential avenues for further collaboration. We will continue to support this valuable partnership.”

Andy Lewis, Head of Bribery, Corruption and Sanctions for the UK’s National Crime Agency, said; “The NCA is delighted to join this network of specialist foreign bribery investigators and we look forward to further collaboration with our colleagues in Australia, Canada and the USA to bring corrupt offenders to justice across the globe.”

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