Australian officials who paid people smugglers to return to Indonesia have committed a transnational crime and put lives at risk, according to allegations from Amnesty International.

The organisation has released a report in which it details evidence of Australian Navy and Border Force officials intercepting a people smuggling boat and paying the crew to turn around.

It recommends a royal commission into the alleged payments, as well as an investigation into a second incident where payments were also alleged to have been made.

Senior ministers have previously expressly denied the involvement of Border Force and Defence Force officials in any payments to people smugglers, but that denial has never been extended to intelligence officials.

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