On June 19, 2019, the French Anti-Corruption Authority (Agence Française anti-corruption “AFA”) published its 2018 activity report1. It relates the first full year of activity of the Agency, since its establishment in September 2017.
The report relates that the AFA has carried out 47 audits2 on companies governed by Sapin II law3, has developed 8 educational documents for economic actors, has organized 17 seminars with professional organizations, has answered 152 questions that were submitted by economic operators and provided individual assistance to 20 companies and public authorities that requested it4.
Soft law publications
During the first 2019 semester, several guidelines were published by the Agency to assist companies in their compliance with anti-corruption law.
1. Guidance on the anti-corruption compliance function in a company
On February 4, 2019, AFA published its guidance on the anti-corruption compliance function5, – the first guide of a series of six to be released6.
Through this document, AFA provides key elements to companies on how to structure an efficient compliance function, in line with the requirements of Article 1 of Sapin II Law7. It states that the main duty of this function is the deployment and implementation of the compliance program within the company.
In this 18-page guide, the AFA identifies eleven tasks assigned to the compliance function among which features the implementation of an internal alert procedure or a disciplinary scheme.
2. Guidance on compliance for mergers and acquisitions
In April 2019, the AFA published a draft compliance guide for mergers and acquisitions (“M&A”). This guidance describes corruption risks faced by companies in the M&A context and explains how they can be mitigated8.
3. Guidelines on the French DPA (Convention Judiciaire d’Intérêt Public: “CJIP”)
On June 27, 2019, in partnership with the National Financial Prosecutor (PNF), the AFA released guidance on the CJIP’s implementation, in order to clarify the conditions of CJIP implementation and encourage corporation cooperation with the judicial authorities and the AFA9.
Audit mission and first hearing
On June 25, 2019, the first hearing of the AFA Commissions of Sanctions was held. the Director of the AFA, Charles Duchaine, referred a French company10 to the Commission of Sanctions for the first time, for failing to implement a proper compliance program11.
The Commission of Sanctions can impose three kinds of sanctions in the event that companies breach their obligation to implement an internal compliance program12. It can issue an injunction to the company in order to conduct enhancements of its compliance program or issue financial penalties13. Additionally, it can order that the company publish or display the decision14
International anti-corruption framework
On June 7, 2019, in partnership with the Group of States against Corruption of the Council of Europe15 and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development16, the AFA launched an international mapping project.
This initiative will map national authorities in charge of preventing and fighting corruption. This project intends to contribute to international cooperation actions.