The French Anticorruption Agency (FAA) made an unsuccessful attempt to take its first enforcement this July as reported by a JD Supra news alert. The move followed the regulator’s three-month audit of an undisclosed company's corporate compliance program.
The FAA took the case to its Enforcement Committee with evidence the agency said showed the company’s compliance program did not meet the requirements of France’s Sapin II law, the country’s landmark anti-corruption legislation.
The Enforcement Committee felt otherwise, noting the company had made gradual improvements to its compliance program between 2017 and 2019. The Committee also said the company was making continuous efforts to update and implement the program. The Committee took it a step further by noting the FAA’s guidelines on compliance programs are not mandatory. But the Committee, said, if a company deviates from the guidelines, they must justify their methodology in doing so.
It’s important to note that before ruling on the case, the Enforcement Committee reaffirmed the FAA’s authority to audit the effectiveness of companies’ corporate compliance programs. As such, the FAA may require a company under audit disclose any "useful" documents and information. This includes including documents and data predating the June 1, 2017 effective of Sapin II.