International Regulatory Enforcement (PHIRE)

French Anticorruption Agency Issues Detailed New Guidelines for Compliance with Sapin II

April 16, 2018

Philippe Bouchez El Ghozi & Morgan A. Heavener

The new French Anticorruption Agency recently issued a set of guidelines detailing the agency’s expectations for corporate compliance programs. The guidelines, which are not legally binding but are required by France’s Sapin II law, provide public and private commercial organizations with a framework for ensuring that their compliance programs adequately protect the organizations from corruption-related risks. The guidelines are also intended to help certain commercial organizations meet the statutory requirements of Article 17 of Sapin II, which requires certain French companies to adopt identified compliance program requirements. The AFA Guidelines are far more detailed than similar anticorruption compliance guidance documents issued by U.S. and U.K. authorities. Although many multinationals may have implemented compliance programs based on international best practices previously highlighted by the U.S., the U.K., and other authorities, such companies may wish to revisit elements of those programs in light of the AFA’s most recent guidance.

  • The AFA Guidelines go much further in describing due diligence and risk mapping requirements than recommendations in U.S. and U.K. guidance documents.

  • The impact of the guidelines on the AFA’s enforcement of Sapin II remains unclear.

  • Companies with operations in France are now on notice of the rigorous compliance program standards that the AFA recommends.

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