France Moves Toward U.S. Model By Endorsing Corporate-Led Investigations
03 Jul 2019

French authorities are encouraging companies to conduct internal investigations when seeking to settle allegations of certain financial crimes—the latest in a series of reforms that brings the country closer to the U.S. model of corporate crime and punishment.

Guidance explaining how such investigations can help companies secure negotiated settlements, released last week by France’s financial prosecutors and a new anticorruption agency, signals a significant shift in the country’s approach to corporate crime.

Without a way to strike out-of-court deals with corporations, French prosecutors have traditionally brought them to trial. “It was really a fight to the death at every turn,” said Kevin Abikoff, a white-collar defense lawyer at New York-based law firm Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP.

French authorities now say corporations that discover potential violations should cooperate by conducting internal investigations and by sharing results with investigators if they want to be eligible for a settlement. They also will consider favorably companies that self-disclose potential wrongdoing, according to the 18-page guidance, which expands on a new anticorruption law.

“I can’t overemphasize how much of a sea change that is from where things were previously,” Mr. Abikoff said.

By Dylan Tokar, WSJ, 2 July 2019

Read more at The Wall Street Journal

Photo: John Dyer [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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