French DPAs—First CJIP Guidelines Published

11/07/2019 | EIFR

On June 27, 2019, the French Financial National Prosecutor1 (commonly referred to as the “PNF”) and the French Anticorruption Agency (the “AFA”) published their first joint guidelines on the use of the French-style deferred prosecution agreement (known as the “CJIP”) in cases of domestic and transnational corruption or influence peddling. The stated purpose of these guidelines is to encourage cooperation of corporate wrongdoers by providing clearer and more reliable procedures to develop the facts and circumstances relevant to the PNF in considering whether to enter into a CJIP and on which terms.

Background. The Sapin II Law of December 9, 2016 created the CJIP procedure, which provides prosecutors (such as the PNF but not the AFA)2 with the power to offer a company suspected of having committed corruption, influence peddling, tax fraud or laundering of the proceeds of tax fraud to settle the case without formal prosecution. The company must agree to pay a fine proportionate to the benefit derived from the misconduct up to 30 percent of the company’s average annual turnover during the previous three years. The company may also be required to compensate the victims and/or agree to implement an enhanced compliance program under the supervision of the AFA for a period up to three years. A CJIP may only be finalized with approval of a judge following a public hearing. The judge’s role is to verify that the statutory requirements for a CJIP have been met. The company does not have to acknowledge any guilt, and the judge’s approval order does not have the effect of a conviction.

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