Theft of trade secrets involving a foreign government principal is an offence under section 92A.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth), which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.
To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:
- You dishonestly received, obtained, took, copied, duplicated, sold, bought or disclosed information
- You did so in circumstances whereby:
(a) The information was not generally known in trade or business, or in the particular trade or business concerned
(b) The information had a commercial value that would have been, or could reasonably be expected to have been destroyed or diminished if the information had been communicated, or
(c) The owner of the information made reasonable efforts in the circumstances to prevent the information becoming generally known, and
- The conduct was on behalf of, or in collaboration with, a foreign government principal, or a person acting on behalf of a foreign government principal, or directed, funded or supervised by a foreign government principal or a person acting on behalf of a foreign government principal.
A ‘foreign government principal’ is defined as:
- The government of a foreign country or of part thereof
- An authority of the government of a foreign country
- An authority of the government of part of a foreign country
- A foreign local government body or foreign regional government body
- A company of a foreign country or part thereof
- A body or association of an authority of a foreign country
- An entity or organisation owned, directed or controlled by a foreign government principal, or by 2 or more such foreign government principals of different nations.
Duress is a defence to the charge.