Press review
12 January 2024

Press review – Week of 8 January 2024

This week, the press review looks back at the conclusion of three Deferred Prosecution Agreements by Marseille’s Public Prosecutor’s office, the dismantlement of a bribery network in the prison of Meaux, the coming into force of a new US law allowing American authorities to bring charges against foreign public officials on matter of bribery, the opening of a fraud trial involving the embezzlement of several million euros, the validation by the SEC of a fund in Bitcoin and the reasons for the non-renewal of Anticor's (a French NGO) authorization to take legal action.


#CorruptionCorruption in Martigues: three companies accused of bribing elected officials fined 1.7 million euros

Marseille’s Attorney General announced the conclusion of deferred prosecution agreements (conventions judiciaires d’intérêt public) with three companies accused since May 2022 of active corruption and influence peddling. The companies have agreed to pay a fine of 1.7 million euros in total. Eleven people were charged in this case for events involving the social housing providers in Martigues. The three companies will also have to pay 125.000 euros to the municipality of Martigues and the same amount to the social housing providers. > Read article


A corruption network involving a prison clerk dismantled at Meaux, Seine-et-Marne

Six agents from the Meaux penitentiary center were placed under investigation on December 20, 2023, for passive and active corruption involving a person in charge of a public interest mission. A prison clerk is implicated in the case and is suspected of having altered administrative information, leading to the liberation of certain prisoners. >Read article


U.S. Prosecutors can charge foreign officials with bribery under new law

U.S. authorities can now charge foreign officials who demand or accept bribes from persons under US jurisdiction. The Foreign Extorsion Prevention Act completes and extends the scope of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the 1974 law which criminalizes the bribery of foreign public agents.  This new provision makes it an offence for a foreign official to ask or take a bribe from an American person, a U.S. company or anyone under U.S. jurisdiction. This new law aims at fighting efficiently against corruption, designated as national priority by the Biden administration. > Read article


Understanding the reasons for the non-renewal of Anticor’s authorization to take legal action.

After months of waiting, the government has finally made its decision: it will not renew Anticor’s authorization to take legal action. This valuable authorization allowed the anti-corruption association to take legal action in cases of breaches of probity. Entangled in an internal crisis since 2020 following contested elections, Anticor had its approval granted in 2021 invalidated in 2023 by the administrative court, a decision then confirmed by the French Supreme administrative court, the Conseil d’Etat. One of the reasons given was that the association did not meet one of the essential criteria for approval, namely that its internal operations should comply with its articles of association. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Catherine Colonna, had until December 26 to issue her decision. The absence of a response after this date constitutes implicit refusal, without the Ministry having justified its decision. > Read article


#White collar crime: Trial of Guillain Méjane, the “Madoff of Maine-et-Loire”

Monday, January 8th, marks the beginning of the trial of Guillain Méjane, also called the “Madoff du Maine-et-Loire” and his associate. The two individuals are accused of embezzling several million euros. 57 people filed complaints alleging that he persuaded families to invest in a high-risk investment fund that promised significant returns. 16 million were invested but it is alleged that the funds were lost. > Read article


#Financial Law: Cryptocurrencies touch the Grail: the SEC validates the listing of a Bitcoin investment fund (ETF)

The US market regulator, the SEC (Security and Exchange Commission), is authorizing a new bitcoin investment product. The ETF (Exchange traded fund), an index-based fund which will allow investors to take advantage of bitcoin developments without investing their money directly in this currency. While the FED (Federal Reserve System) and a number of leading CEOs were denouncing the risks of cryptocurrency, particularly in terms of money laundering and tax fraud, it has now prevailed, a so have the investors who had anticipated this authorization: the price has risen by over 150% in the past year. > Read article

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