Norton Rose Fulbright (Aus) Say Asia Pacific Anti Corruption Laws Very Complex For Multinationals

Here’s the piece as published on Mondaq  (   You can download the full guide at this link

This might well be the case but let’s be brutally honest here. If you employ an army of lawyers to find loopholes  is it not incumbent upon legislators to close those loopholes.

We doubt the legal community are worrying too much.. just means more work, more billable hours and more fees.

Australia: Asia-Pacific anti-corruption laws ensnare multinationals in complexity, says new guide

Rapid and extensive developments in the Asia Pacific region’s anti-corruption landscape, as well as increased enforcement by key jurisdictions, are creating a complex and growing challenge for multinational companies, according to a new guide from global legal practice Norton Rose Fulbright.

” Business ethics and anti-corruption: Asia Pacific laws” provides legal, governance, risk and compliance practitioners with an overview of anti-corruption regimes and related laws in the Asia-Pacific region.

It examines issues related to anti-corruption, anti-money laundering, whistleblowing, extortion, data privacy, disclosure, and legal privilege in 19 jurisdictions across Asia-Pacific including Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

Wilson Ang, partner, Norton Rose Fulbright commented:

“The global anti-corruption movement continues to gain momentum and key jurisdictions in Asia-Pacific are joining the campaign against corrupt practices. It is of crucial importance for multinational companies to have a strong grasp of the fundamental features of the local laws in each jurisdiction in which they operate, as well as the extraterritorial application of enforcement regimes around the world.”

“Failure to do so can result in severe consequences ranging from criminal convictions entailing massive fines and prison sentences for senior executives, to civil suits and irreparable damage to a company’s reputation leading to loss of investor confidence and share value.”

Key anti-corruption issues in Asia-Pacific include:

The rise of China as an enforcement jurisdiction
China has seen a very public and sustained crackdown by President Xi on “tigers and flies”; as well as the targeting of foreign companies in China for corruption and antitrust violations, in sectors ranging from pharmaceutical and healthcare, to automobile manufacturers and technology companies.
China continues to be named in many cases as the location where corrupt practices are being investigated by US and UK enforcement agencies.

Key Asian financial centres take strict measures on money laundering
Singapore has implemented increasingly stringent controls targeted at money laundering/terrorist-financing activities, including adding tax evasion as a predicate offence, enhancing client due diligence procedures and focusing on sectors such as corporate services providers and crypto-currency.
Hong Kong, in light of its proximity to China, and being the regional headquarters for many multinational corporations, is exposed to the risks of inflows of tainted proceeds of crime and has taken strict measures to implement anti- money laundering/terrorist-financing measures.

New Governments in India and Indonesia take anti-corruption stance
In a backlash against corruption scandals of the past decade in India, Narendra Modi was elected Prime Minister in a landslide victory by the BJP. The Modi administration has pledged to improve the investment climate and reduce bureaucracy, in part through anti-corruption measures.
The new Indonesian President, Joko Widodo, was elected in July 2014 amidst protectionist sentiments and resource nationalism, and has vowed to be tough on errant companies.

Opening of Myanmar draws in investors
Foreign investment in Myanmar jumped from US$300 million in 2009 to US$3.5 billion in 2014 after the suspension of economic sanctions.
The country has been characterized as facing major challenges of endemic corruption and lack of transparency as it transitions to civilian rule in 2015.

Thailand targeting corruption after military coup
The Thai military overturned the Yingluck Government in May 2014, assuming control of national administration to solve the political unrest which stemmed from various corruption scandals.
Reviews of mega-infrastructure projects and investigations into government officials implicated in the rice pledge scheme and financial transactions with suspected links to corruption, drug trafficking and money laundering have commenced.