French Anticorruption Agency Sets The Pace: New Anticorruption Compliance Guide Just Published

Author:Mr Bénédicte Graulle, Françoise Labrousse, Linda A. Hesse and Camille Rollin
Profession:Jones Day
 
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In Short

The Situation: On February 4, 2019, the French Anticorruption Agency published its much-awaited practical guide for anticorruption compliance.

The Result: Through this publication, the Agency gives key guidance to company executives on how to structure, within their companies, an integrated and efficient anticorruption compliance function, and becomes the latest regulator to add to the growing international consensus on the requirements for an effective anticorruption compliance program.

Looking Ahead: The Guide is the first in a series of six such guides, and we are expecting the Agency to publish the remaining five guides soon.

Background

On February 4, 2019, the French Anticorruption Agency published its new practical guide relating to the implementation of a robust anticorruption compliance program, as required by Law No. 2016-1691, dated December 9, 2016 ("Sapin II Law"). The Anticorruption Compliance Guide is the first in a series of six such Guides; the Agency will soon publish the remaining five Guides. The Guide provides crucial guidance to French executives when structuring an integrated and effective compliance program for their companies.

As a reminder, Article 17 of the Sapin II Law applies to all companies that: (i) have more than 500 employees, or are part of a group with more than 500 employees and whose parent company is headquartered in France; and (ii) have an annual revenue or consolidated annual revenue exceeding €100 million.

The Guide's Main Points

The Guide emphasizes the importance and strategic nature of an anticorruption compliance program for companies. The governing body of each company covered by the Sapin II law should ensure that it has the means to identify and control the risks faced by the company, especially in a context of increased competition and more complex standards. As the Guide recognizes, there is no single model for anticorruption compliance, and each company must have its own tailored internal policies.

The Guide also reflects the Agency's position that the appointment of an internal anticorruption Compliance Officer demonstrates the commitment of a company's governing body to preventing and detecting corruption. The Compliance Officer should be afforded easy access to the governing body to enable it to develop a true and fair view of the company's activity. Moreover, the need for the Compliance Officer to be independent from other corporate officers is reiterated on several occasions...

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