The French Anti-Corruption Agency: a new agency created by the Sapin II Law

The AFA’s mission is to monitor people subject to legal compliance obligations in the fight against corruption and influence peddling.

The French Anti-Corruption Agency (Agence française anticorruption, AFA) is a national department under the joint authority of the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Finance. Its mission is to prevent, control and issue sanctions in the fight against corruption.

1. The AFA published recommendations aimed at helping public and private companies prevent and detect acts of corruption, influence peddling, corruption, wrongful appropriation, misuse of public money, and favoritism (Memo No. 0298 of December 22, 2017).

These recommendations, which are to be outlined depending on the specific nature of each organization, mainly relate to:

  • Commitment by management to prevent and detect acts of corruption.
  • Implementation of:
    • an anti-corruption code of conduct ;
    • an internal alert system ;
    • third party assessment procedures ;
    • accounting validation procedures, and corruption prevention and detection tools ;
    • training program on corruption risks ;
    • an internal validation and assessment device.
  • The definition of a risk map.

2. The AFA’s mission is to monitor people subject to legal compliance obligations in the fight against corruption and influence peddling.

Monitoring may be either at the initiative or request of the High Commission for Transparency in Public Life, the Prime Minister, ministers, or—for regional collectives and their public establishments and mixed-ownership companies—the representative of the State. They can follow signals sent to the AFA by an approved association in accordance with article 2-23 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

In those circumstances, the AFA is entitled to receive any relevant document, verify the accuracy of information provided on-site, and interview anyone who it deems relevant.
The rights and duties of monitored parties are guaranteed by a Charter published by the AFA. Following monitoring, a report is sent to the organization monitored and may contain recommendations.
If the AFA detects a breach and has given the person in question two months to present a written response, the director of the AFA may issue a warning or refer the matter to the Sanctions Committee.

3. The AFA Sanctions Committee may order the monitored organization to adapt its internal procedures, issue a monetary sanction (up to €200,000 for individuals or €1 million for legal entities), or order the publication, dissemination or posting of its decision.

Finally, the AFA informs the Public prosecutor of any discoveries made while performing its mission that may constitute a crime or offense.

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