Assessment Of France By The Oecd Working Group On International Bribery Likely To Result In Increased Repression

France is currently the focus of an assessment by the OECD Working Group on Bribery to determine whether its preventive and repressive measures implemented to fight against international bribery and corruption are satisfactory and effective in light of the OECD's recommendations.

The French Ministry of Justice has recently insisted on the paucity of judgments handed down by French courts penalizing acts of international corruption1 to encourage representatives of the Public Prosecutor's office to step up repression, including by seeking corporate criminal liability and applying for additional sentences such as the confiscation of the proceeds of corruption.

On December 17, 1997, the 29 Member States of the OECD2 and 5 non member states, at the behest of the United States,3 passed the OECD Convention on Combatting Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions.

In order to ensure the efficiency of its anti bribery measures, the OECD set up a Working Group on Bribery responsible for overseeing the application and enforcement of the Convention of December 17, 1997, and the recommendations of the OECD based on a supervisory scheme composed of various evaluation phases.

France is currently subject to a new evaluation, by Italy and Switzerland, in the context of "Phase 3" of this process so as to determine the progress achieved on weaknesses identified in its prior evaluation, the issues raised by legislative amendments adopted, and the enforcement outcome of the repressive measures implemented following the adoption of the OECD Convention.


Prior to the adoption of the OECD Convention by France, only "internal" active and passive bribery of public servants or representatives of the French State was penalized.

Various international conventions were incorporated into the French Criminal Code by the statutes of June 30, 2000 and November 13, 2007, which introduced the offences of passive and active bribery of foreign public officials or officials of an international organization (Articles 435-1 and 435-3 of the French Criminal Code) and that of active and passive influence peddling involving agents of a public international organization (Articles 435-2 and 435-4 of the French Criminal Code).

Finally, the statute of May 17, 2011 amended the French Criminal Code to remove the requirement of a prior "corruption pact". Indeed, there...

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