The fiduciary industry has found its strategic tool in the fight against corruption: the ISO 37001 anti-bribery standard.
Last year it was disclosed that Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) subsidiaries Securency and Note Printing Australia were fined a combined $21 million over corruption charges in 2012. The sanctions are related to bribe payments made in Indonesia, Vietnam, and Malaysia in order to win banknote printing contracts. In response to a clear need for improvements in bribery countermeasures, banknote operators are turning to international standards in an effort to engineer industry-wide consensus on acceptable practices.
Corruption has plagued the security printing industry for years
The RBA subsidiaries scandal, which dates back to activity in the years 1999 to 2004, shows that major players in the security printing sector are equally at risk. While management of the companies made clear that they were not aware that bribery had been taking place, they admitted not enough had been done to limit the possibility of malpractice.
More recently, OeBS, the banknote printing subsidiary of the Austrian central bank, Oesterreichische Nationalbank, was caught in a bribery and corruption scandal relating to the central banks of Azerbaijan and Syria. In total, seven people were convicted for the shady cash printing scheme, including the printing company’s two joint CEOs.
The industry continues to be on troubled ground. Just this year, security printing industry heavyweight De La Rue was placed under investigation by the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO). The SFO is looking into the company for alleged corruption during its business practices in South Sudan. The investigation is ongoing.
What are the challenges to reform?
Bribery and corruption affect virtually every sector. Companies, especially those operating in industries sensitive to corruption,