Press review
27 January 2023

Press review – Week of 23 January 2023

In this week’s press review, you will find two cases which were dismissed, one concerning the defective management of the Covid-19 crisis against the former Minister of Health, Agnès Buzyn, and the other for the alleged complicity in war crimes in Ukraine against Total Energies. Also, a trial and two criminal proceedings are underway, first the trial for complicity in attempted fraud against two leading attorneys of the Parisian bar, then Burmese military officials are sued for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity in German courts, and Google is sued by the DOJ for antitrust practices in the online advertising market. Also, the PNF sent a call for cooperation to Helin International Group’s French clients, accused of having organized and allowed the tax evasion of thousands of international clients. Finally, the Constitutional Council held that the articles of the Law of Confidence in the Judicial Institution relating to the attorney-client privilege were in line with the Constitution despite lawyers’ contestations.


Navacelle strengthens its regulatory litigation practice with the arrival of Roxane Castro

With an international culture and a multidisciplinary team led by Stéphane de Navacelle and Julie Zorrilla, Navacelle continues to develop and strengthen its regulatory litigation and white-collar crime practice with the arrival of Roxane Castro as Counsel. > Learn more


Sanctioning obstructions to AMF investigations: Update from the Constitutional Court in its decision of 28 January 2022

On 28 January 2022, the Constitutional Court ruled that Article L. 621-15, II, f of the Monetary and Financial Code was unconstitutional. As a result of this decision, double prosecution for obstruction to the French Financial Markets Authority investigations is no longer possible. > Read analysis


#Anti-Bribery and Corruption: Overview of the AFA’s survey regarding French companies’ anti-corruption systems

On 30 September 2022, the French Anti-Corruption Agency published the results of its second survey of French companies’ anti-corruption systems. Its outcome was satisfactory overall, although there is still room for improvement. > Read article


Covid-19 crisis: the Court of Cassation cancelled the indictment of Agnès Buzyn

Charged with “endangering others” during the health crisis related to Covid-19, the former Minister of Health has been given the status of “assisted witness.” On Friday, 20 January, the plenary session of the Court of Cassation annulled her indictment following an appeal lodged by the Minister relating to the absence of a particular duty of care or safety. The Court considered that none of the texts referred to by the investigating committee of the Court of Justice of the Republic provided for a specific duty of care or safety.> Read article


Complaint against Total Energies for “complicity in war crimes” in Ukraine dismissed

The National Anti-Terrorist Prosecutor’s Office (PNAT) dismissed the complaint for “complicity in war crimes” that the associations Darwin Climax Coalitions, which specializes in human rights and the defense of populations affected by industrial predation, and Razom We Stand, a Ukrainian organization that calls for an embargo on imports of fossil fuels from Russia, filed on 13 October 2022 against the French company. The PNAT indicated that the accusations that Total allowed the manufacture in Russia of fuel used by aircraft engaged in the Ukrainian war were unfounded. > Read article


Justice: two prominent lawyers indicted for “complicity in attempted fraud”

On Monday, 23 January, two Parisian lawyers Joseph Cohen-Sabban and Xavier Nogueras, appear before a criminal court. They are accused of having produced false documents before a criminal court (Cour d’assises) in 2018 to prove their client’s innocence. The lawyers plead their good faith, considering that there are no evidence establishing with certainty that the lawyers knew that the document they produced in court was falsified. > Read article


Burmese military officials sued for genocide

Sixteen people and the NGO Fortify Rights have filed a complaint in German courts against Burmese military officials for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. The 215-page complaint accuses the army of “killing, raping, torturing, imprisoning, systematically disappearing people.” > Read article


#Criminal tax law: “Dubai Papers”: The PNF sends “a last appeal” to a company’s French clients to adjust their status

In a press release dated 18 January 2023, the French National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF) asked the French clients of Helin International Group, a company accused of having organized and enabled tax fraud for hundreds of European clients, to contact their services. The preliminary investigation against Helin International led to seventy-two search warrants and more than fifty police custody and interrogations. The PNF’s press release aims to accelerate the investigation process of this group’s hundreds of French clients, allowing them to come forward in exchange for the possibility of a judicial treatment that considers their denunciation and level of cooperation. > Read article


United States: Google sued by a government complaint for “monopoly” in the online advertising market

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and eight states are suing Google for antitrust practices. The DOJ accuses the tech giant of abusing its dominant position in digital advertising and striking exclusive deals with other companies, such as Android and Apple, destroying competition. The DOJ is asking the court to force Google to sell a significant portion of its ad technology products and prevent the company from engaging in allegedly anti-competitive practices. > Read article


Lawyers fail again to win unlimited attorney-client privilege 

On 19 January 2023, the Constitutional Council held that the articles of the Law of Confidence in the Judicial Institution relating to the attorney-client privilege are in line with the Constitution. This decision comes one year after the lawyers’ demonstrations to defend the integrity of attorney-client privilege. In contrast, the law of 2021 excludes the attorney-client privilege when prosecuting tax fraud, corruption, influence peddling, and money laundering. > Read article


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