The anti-corruption law known as “Sapin II” was passed on 11 December 2016 in the hopes of bringing French anti-corruption legislation in line with the strictest European and international standards. Global companies need to take notice because the new law is essentially the first of its kind in France. Prior to Sapin II, the laws against paying bribes to foreign government officials were virtually non-existent in France and the increased liability means that companies could face separate penalties under the FCPA, UK Bribery Act and now Sapin II.
For non-French companies that are operating in France, it is imperative that the new guidelines be communicated to employees in high risk functions and activities such as government contracting, sales, procurement and third party management. Even for companies that have an existing global anti-bribery programme in place, there is a need to ensure that their measures are in line with the expectations of the new French Anti-Corruption Agency. Global companies cannot necessarily drop in a US or UK founded compliance programme and expect to meet all the requirements under Sapin II. Depending on the state of the existing compliance programme, Sapin II can require companies to:
- Train high risk employees on bribery and corruption
- Add illustrative examples in the code about prohibited behaviors related to bribery
- Conduct a risk assessment of both clients and third parties
- Conduct risk mapping to determine the exposure to corrupt acts and regularly update it