French Prosecutors continue to conclude French Deferred Prosecution Agreements

(i) CJIP Google France SARL and Google Ireland Ltd, September 3, 2019. On September 3, 2019, the Financial Prosecution Office (“PNF”) concluded a CJIP with Google France SARL and Google Ireland Limited, which agreed to pay a €500 million fine for tax fraud and complicity of tax fraud1. The fine was then lessened, taking into account the tax penalties set by the tax authorities for 2011-2018 that the company had agreed to pay.

(ii) CJIP Société SAS Egis Avia, December 10, 20192. On December 10, 2019, the PNF concluded a CJIP with the French company SAS Egis Avia, which agreed to pay a €2.6 million fine for the bribery of a foreign public official. SAS Egis Avia had been under investigation since October 2013 for the payment of consultancy fees to companies domiciled in Non-Cooperative Countries and Territories – British Virgin Islands – the investigation highlighting financial flows to Algerian public officials to influence the award of a contract for the construction of an airport terminal in Oran.

(iii) CJIP Bank of China, January 15, 20203. On January 15, 2020, the Paris Public Prosecutor’s Office concluded a CJIP with the Bank of China, which agreed to pay a €3 million fine for profits derived from tax fraud laundering on account that they failed to demonstrate that they had complied with anti-money laundering standards relating to customer identification and transaction due diligence. Accounts opened in a Bank of China branch located in the province of Zhejiang, were used to receive funds under false invoices and process cash inflows from the sale of smuggled goods. The modus operandi enabled Chinese account holders residing in France to circumvent corporate tax and VAT for a significant part of their turnover.

(iv) CJIP Airbus SE, January 31, 20204. On January 29, 2020, the PNF concluded a CJIP with Airbus SE, which agreed to pay a €2.083 billion fine for the bribery of public officials. The investigations demonstrated that Airbus hired and paid numerous commercial intermediaries up until 2015. Part of their fees was paid by several occult means, including fictitious loans, without establishing the exact nature of their contribution. This CJIP was signed in coordination with the UK Serious Fraud Office and the US Department of Justice, with which Airbus SE has concluded separate Deferred Prosecution Agreements. Airbus SE also commits to complying with the French Anti-Corruption Agency (“AFA”) controls for a period of three years, to ensure that the compliance program upon which they have agreed has been fully deployed in the company’s entities and subsidiaries.

(v) CJIP Swiru Holding May 4, 20205. On May 4, 2020, the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Nice concluded a CJIP with the Swiss company Swiru Holding AG. The latter agreed to pay a €1.4 million fine, in addition to a separate payment of €10.4 million to the tax administration for tax evasion. The company was indicted in November 2019 for complicity of tax fraud after the investigation revealed concealment of part of the sale price of a villa located in South of France to avoid paying tax on the differential price. The Public Prosecutor’s Office of Nice is the fourth authority that has signed a CJIP, following the PNF, and the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Paris and Nanterre, therefore contributing to a wider use of this transactional tool in France.

  1. SARL Google France & Google Ireland Ltd case, Convention judiciaire d’intérêt public”, September 3, 2019, https://www.agence-francaise-anticorruption.gouv.fr/fr/document/english-version-convention-judiciaire-dinteret-public-cjip-between-national-financial-prosecutor.
  2. Press release ; PNF, December 10, 2019.
  3. Blanchiment : Bank of China accepte de payer 3,9 millions d’euros à la France”, Les Echos, January 28, 2020.
  4. Airbus SE case, Convention judiciaire d’intérêt public”, January, 29, 2020, https://www.agence-francaise-anticorruption.gouv.fr/files/files/CJIP%20AIRBUS_English%20version.pdf.
  5. Press release, Nice Public Prosecutor, May 3 2020.