Minister Michel Sapin
6 April 2016

Sapin II Law: transparency, act against corruption, modernisation of the economy

The bill on transparency, act against corruption and the modernisation of the economy is an essential step in strengthening the values which form the basis of our democratic, economic and social pact.
Content published under the Government Valls III from 2016 11th February to 2016 06th December
Over the last twenty years, France has done much to eradicate corruption among its elected representatives, businesses and civil servants. As such, the first "Sapin Law" of 1993 improved transparency in politics and public procurement. More recently, the Acts of 11 October 2013 and 6 December 2013 brought in measures to enhance transparency and to eliminate corruption.

The "Sapin II" bill will bring France into line with the highest international standards in the area of transparency and the action against corruption.

Section 1: transparency

The bill contains provisions for the creation of a national electronic register of representatives of interests in order to supervise their practices. They will be obliged to register and declare their business operations. In the event of a breach, the Haute autorité pour la transparence de la vie publique (HATVP - Supreme Authority for Transparency in Public Life) will be able to issue the representative with a formal warning and, in the event of a repeat offence, to impose a maximum fine of €30,000.

The text promotes legal protection for whistleblowers in the financial sector. The newly formed National Agency will be able to advise them on their rights and the legal protection to which they may be entitled, particularly if they are accused of making false allegations. 

Section 2: eliminating corruption

The bill provides for the creation of the National Agency against Corruption, tasked with the detection and prevention of corruption. It will have a staff of 70, compared with the current 16 in the central department at the Ministry of Justice.

It also lays down an obligation to implement a corruption prevention plan in large companies. The National Agency will ensure that companies with a workforce of over 500 and whose annual turnover exceeds €100 million put in place procedures to guard against the risk of corruption, for example by training their employees. This obligation already exists in a number of countries, including the United Kingdom and Switzerland. The Agency will be able to penalise any failings in the 1,600 companies in France in this bracket. In this way, it will be able to issue a formal warning or impose a fine of up to €1 million for legal entities and €200,000 for natural persons, and make the proposed penalty public.
Finally, the wording of the bill provides for the offence of corruptly influencing a foreign public official in order to bring our criminal procedure into line with the issues raised by transnational corruption.

Section 3: modernisation of the economy

The objective is to guarantee more transparent and more effective financing of the real economy, in particular through:
  • improved financial stability and protection for savers by increasing the powers of the financial regulation authorities;
  • a ban on advertising for internet platforms that offer high risk financial instruments;
  • support for the development of new means of payment, by creating fair competition conditions for all categories of payment service provider;
  • the creation of French-style pension funds by changing supplementary pension regulation schemes in order to redirect €10 to 20 billion into financing the economy;
  • an increase in late payment penalties.


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