Leighton Holdings allegations goes to heart of corporate reputation, says expert
Corporate governance expert and Dean of the University of Western Sydney School of Law, Professor Michael Adams is available to comment on allegations of bribery against Leighton Holdings Ltd.
“From a corporate governance perspective, this type of allegation goes to the heart of the corporation's reputation,” says Professor Adams.
“Sir Adrian Cadbury in his landmark 1992 report noted the importance of the board’s role in governance and setting standards. In Australia's Royal Commission into the collapse of HIH Insurance, Justice Neville Owen noted the responsibilities of the board of directors was critical and they set the direction of the company.”
In recent years the Australian courts and investigators from the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the corporate regulator, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), have examined Australian companies involved in foreign corruption and bribery.
The most prominent case has involved AWB with the oil for grain deals and last month attention was again focused on a subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of Australia responsible for plastic bank notes.
Professor Adams says revelations linking Leighton to intermediary organisations to facilitate construction contracts with foreign nationals against UN sanctions has caused a huge reaction.
“Leighton is a high profile company and it is essential to have these matters resolved as quickly as possible,” he says.
“There is the risk of reputational damage for the company, the directors and executives and the broader national investment landscape. The Australian market could be undermined.”
Leighton Holdings has defended the claims via an ASX statement and through the media.
The AFP has commenced a preliminary investigation and will be the primary agency to get to the truth says Professor Adams.
3 October 2013
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