14 July 2018

French-style DPAs: CJIP (Convention Judiciaire d’Intérêt Public)

Bastille Day Newsletter 2018 - Enforcement / Court Decisions


November 14, 2017: Judicial approval of the first CJIP in the HSBC case
PBRS, a Swiss subsidiary of HSBC was prosecuted in France by the National Financial Prosecutor (Parquet National financier, PNF) on charges of money-laundering of tax fraud between 2006 to 2009 in Switzerland for French clients or clients having connections with France.

The company acknowledged the facts and signed a CJIP with the PNF on October 18, 2017. The CJIP imposed several obligations to HSBC namely the payment of a 300 M€ penalty (a €158 million fine and €142 million in damages) and the implementation of compliance measures. On November 14, 2017, the President of the Paris Court (Tribunal de Grande Instance) approved the CJIP. The amount of the fine represents the maximum that could be imposed on a company pursuant to a CJIP (i.e. 30% of the average turnover of the company for years 2014 to 2016). The legal maximum was thus exceeded by adding €142 million euros in damages.

February 23, 2018: Judicial approval of the CJIP in the Kaefer Wanner case
Kaefer Wanner is a French company which does maintenance and repair work over industries, nuclear power plant, building and ships. The company paid bribes to an employee of the French state electricity supplier (EDF) in order to access new markets between 2004 to 2011. On February 2, 2018 Kaefer Wanner signed a CJIP with the Public Prosecutor in Nanterre and agreed to pay a €3,3 million fine. The fine was reduced to €2,1 million due to the cooperation of the company with the authorities and the implementation of anti-corruption measures namely the appointment of a new chief compliance officer and the implementation of a training programe for the employees. Pursuant to the Sapin II law, the company is monitored by the French Anti-Corruption Agency (AFA) which is in charge of assessing the company’s compliance programme. The company agreed to pay damages to EDF even though one of the state company’s employee instigated the corrupt practices. 

June 4, 2018: Judicial approval of a CJIP in the Société Générale/LIA case
Société Générale was involved in a dispute relating to commissions paid to a Lybian broker close to the Gaddafi regime in connection with investments made by the Lybian states institutions.

In 2016, two years after the US DOJ, the PNF launched a preliminary investigation in connection to the investments Lybian Investment Authority (LIA) has made with Société Générale.

In May 2017, Société Générale and the LIA have agreed to settle a long-running dispute as the case was due to start in London’s High Court. The Lybian sovereign wealth fund had claimed that corrupt practices involving the payment of a $58,5 million by Société Générale to a Panama-registered company called Leinada. The LIA and Société Générale signed a settlement agreement covering the financial transactions subject to the legal action in front of the English Court.

On May 24, 2018, Société Générale signed a CJIP in France with the PNF and a DPA with the DOJ. The company agreed to pay €250 million to the French authorities and €250 million (293M$) to the DOJ.  This negotiated settlement paves the way of the cooperation between the US and French authorities in the fight against corruption at the global scale.

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