In most countries, there are laws governing conflicts of interest pertaining to contracting and financial transactions with governmental entities. The level of scrutiny and enforcement varies from country to country. The issue rests upon the perception of transparency and fairness of process in the award of government contracts and deals.
A recent Australia case contains a useful analysis of what facts might lead to a perception of conflict of interest, even assuming no confidential information was actually compromised. Due consideration should be given to any facts that might fall into the ambit of perceived conflict of interest so as to safeguard transactions, often involving very large sums of money.
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By Russell Kennedy