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Sanctions

Sanctions

The consequences in the event of a criminal conviction are significant.

France now has a solid legislative arsenal to crack down on corruption. French law criminalizes active corruption (the corrupter) and passive corruption (the corrupt) in the same way.

For individuals:

In the case of public corruption, whether the agent is French or foreign, the maximum penalty is 10 years imprisonment and a fine of €1 million (or double the proceeds of the offence).

In the case of private bribery, the maximum penalty is 5 years imprisonment and a fine of €500,000 (or double the proceeds of the offence). It can be seen that the penalties are higher in cases of public corruption.

For legal persons:

In the case of bribery of public officials, the maximum penalty is set at €5 million (or 10 times the proceeds of the offence).

For private bribery, the maximum penalty is a fine of €2.5 million (or 10 times the proceeds of the offence).

An additional penalty of ineligibility, for those found guilty of corruption, has been systematised by the Sapin 2 law. The penalty of ineligibility is not automatic but it is now up to the judge to give reasons for his decision not to apply it.

For a legal person, i.e. a company or an organisation, a criminal conviction for acts of corruption can also have many detrimental consequences for it, in particular :

  • a temporary ban on access to European Union public procurement contracts,

  • the loss of trust of his business partners, and the loss of contracts,

  • the deterioration of its image with customers and investors,

  • Deterioration in working relationships and loss of trust in the organization's values, and greater difficulty in attracting highly skilled talent/sensitive people with ethical commitment.

All of this could obviously seriously compromise the survival of a company, but the Sapin 2 law provides for an alternative.

Companies and organisations can be offered a public interest judicial agreement.

Lawsuits can be dropped in exchange:

  • the payment of a heavy fine to the French Treasury,

  • submission to a compliance program,

  • of compensation to victims.

A real benefit in terms of image, and the company can continue its development... While relieving the courts...