Two Sydney men charged with conspiracy to bribe foreign officials

Editor's note: Vision of arrest available via Hightail here

Two Sydney men are due to appear in court today (11 October 2022) after being charged with bribery of foreign government officials following a long-running investigation by the AFP.

A Putney man, 67, and Newtown man, 71, were arrested and charged in September of this year.

The AFP is investigating allegations that Australian-based SMEC International Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of SMEC Holdings Pty Ltd, was involved in the bribery of foreign public officials in order to win contracts for the supervision of two infrastructure projects in Sri Lanka worth more than US$8.8 million.

The AFP will allege that between 2009 and 2016 the men conspired to arrange the payment of more than AU$304,000 to bribe foreign government officials.

AFP officers have been working in close collaboration with local and international partners, including the Australian Securities & Investments Commission, Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade), Sri Lanka Police Service, Bangladesh Police, Indian Central Bureau of Investigation, Royal Canadian Mounted Police and US Federal Bureau of Investigation throughout the protracted investigation.

The 67-year-old Putney man and 71-year-old Newtown man have each been charged with one count of conspiring to bribe a foreign public official, contrary to sections 11.5 and 70.2(1)(a)(i) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).

The maximum penalty for this offence is 10 years’ imprisonment.

They are scheduled to appear in the Downing Centre Local Court on Tuesday 11 October 2022.

AFP Detective Superintendent Helen Schneider said combatting corruption was a key priority for the Australian Federal Police.

“Corruption undermines fair competition and can have disastrous consequences for developing economies, global anti-poverty and development efforts,” she said.

“The AFP works to fight bribery and corruption both here and overseas to support ethical business practices, national security and the rule of law.”

The AFP has not ruled out further arrests or charges, with investigations continuing.

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