Law commission

The French Law Commission recommends an overhaul of anti-corruption laws

The Law Commission produced a report for the French National Assembly examining the impact of the 2016 anti-corruption law known as Sapin 2, making several recommendations aimed at strengthening legislation and improving safeguards.

The committee recommended that the responsibility for monitoring compliance programs be transferred from the anti-corruption agency (AFA) to the transparency body HATVP (High Authority for the Transparency of Public Life, which would be renamed the High Authority for Probity. (Authority for probity) Indeed, the HATVP is independent from the executive and has greater budgetary and functional autonomy than the AFA.

The report examined the impact of deferred prosecution agreements (DPAs) and made recommendations to give companies more certainty about entering into a DPA. He suggested reassuring companies that if they cooperated with the authorities, they would be eligible for a DPA and establishing a grid to help companies assess the level of any fine that would be part of the DPA.

The commission suggested adapting an existing tool for individuals called CRPC (Appearance on Prior Recognition of Guilt) for corruption cases. A CRPC is similar to a DPA and the suggestion is that an individual would enter into the agreement alongside a DPA between the authorities and the company for which the individual works. However, unlike a DPA, the CRPC recognizes criminal liability in the case.

Although Sapin II created the status of whistleblower, it lacks adequate protection for those who speak out against corruption. Thus, the committee proposed that whistleblowers could approach the authorities directly to raise a problem without having to alert their companies beforehand.

The committee suggested a formal whistleblower status that could be used before administrative and judicial authorities, or granted by a judge during legal proceedings; the creation of a fund to financially assist whistleblowers; and the creation of a civil sanction to deter prosecution against any whistleblower.

The recommendations are expected to be implemented through new legislation and no timetable has yet been set.