Government Investigations in France – Lessons Learnt from Société Générale's LIBOR, FCPA and Sanctions Resolutions, and Key Developments in French DPA Practice Over the Past Two Years
In June and November 2018, French banking giant Société Générale paid a cumulative amount of close to USD 3.5 Bn in fines pursuant to resolutions reached with the US and French law enforcement and regulatory authorities. The facts related to foreign corrupt practices, breaches of US sanctions laws, and interest rate manipulation. The investigations spanned a period of close to eight years and raised multiple issues and challenges, including: getting the bank's management to understand the concept of cooperation with the US authorities in cases that presented little to no nexus with the US; addressing employees' rights in the context of an internal investigation; managing the risk loss of legal privilege and ensuring document preservation; dealing with interactions and the cooperation (or lack thereof) between the various government agencies; negotiating the fines, according to varying methodologies; and managing the interaction between the criminal investigation and the civil litigation that ran in parallel.
Nicolas Brooke, Signature Litigation AARPI, Paris, France
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