Publication
14 May 2024

LIR 6th Edition : Focus on ADP INGENIERIE and SEVES Group/SEDIVER CJIPs

Navacelle contributes to The Legal Industry Reviews' sixth edition, focusing on the last two CJIPs (kind of French DPAs) concluded. A few short news on compliance are also included in the original publication (see below).

On 4 December 2023, the Paris judicial court (tribunal judiciaire de Paris) approved two conventions judiciaires d’intérêt public (CJIP) (French deferred prosecution agreements) for corruption of foreign public officials : the first signed between the National financial prosecutor’s office (procureur national financier – PNF) and ADP INGENIERIE (ADPI), the second with SEVES Group / SEDIVER.[1]

 

  • ADPI CJIP

The investigation conducted by the PNF[2] shows that ADPI committed acts in Libya and in UAE that, according to the PNF, were likely to be considered as corruption of foreign public officials,[3] namely: (i) having access to confidential information on a call for tenders and being awarded a contract thanks to intermediaries’ facilitations,[4] (ii) benefiting from local financial arrangements in return for a payment made to the competent administrative body,[5] and (iii) concluding contracts with local service providers and subcontractors at prices higher than the market price and at prices excessive in relation to the scope of work.[6]

For these facts, ADPI agreed to pay a public interest fine (amende d’intérêt public) of 14,600,000 euros, calculated on the basis of the benefits obtained from the breaches identified (restitutive part) and taking into account major and minor factors such as the accumulation of separate acts and ADPI’s active cooperation (afflictive part).[7]  As ADPI has been subject to a two-year control on the implementation of its compliance program by an independent expert as part of a settlement agreement signed with a development bank,[8] the PNF did not ask for the implementation of a compliance program.

 

  • SEVES Group / SEDIVER CJIP

The PNF’s investigations[9] revealed facts that, according to the PNF, were likely to be considered as corruption of foreign public officials,[10] namely: the payment of commissions by SEDIVER to public officials to promote its selection as a subcontractor in the context of a World-Bank financed contract concluded between a state-owned company in the DRC and an Indian company,[11]  as well as similar facts committed in the course of other projects and countries (Algeria, Nigeria and Libya).[12]

For these facts, SEDIVER agreed to pay a public interest fine of 13,373,000 euros considering the benefits obtained from the breaches identified as well as minor and major factors (particularly compensation for the damage suffered by the DRC through payments made to the World Bank pursuant to a settlement agreement). SEDIVER was also required to implement a compliance program under the supervision of the AFA to ensure that SEVES Group’s anti-corruption system is in place and effective.[13]  The PNF agreed to the implementation of a “golden clause” which provides that the CJIP also covers facts of the same nature likely to have been committed in a list of nineteen countries between 2009 and 2015 by SEDIVER. This clause only applies if such facts have not been concealed during the procedure and that, should they be committed, they are immediately reported.[14]

These two CJIPs highlight the different methods for assessing sanctions as well as the practical and pragmatic approach to the facts applied by the PNF. They also reveal the omnipresence of development banks and the impact that the procedures they lead may have on the modalities of concluding a CJIP in France. It should also be noted the application of the “golden clause” in compliance with the last PNF Guidelines, a way to make the procedure more attractive for companies.

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