French Rules on Whistleblower Hotlines are Changing


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As many of you operating globally know, the laws and regulations in differing countries can prove tricky to navigate. There have been changes recently in the way an organization can operate whistleblower hotlines in France that will be of interest to our multinational clients. In October 2010, the Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés (or CNIL), the French data privacy regulatory body, amended the “single authorization” method for whistleblower hotlines. The amendments included both a clarification and broadening of the scope of acceptable issues organizations can receive through the hotline and still be in compliance with the single authorization.

The October amendments removed the ability to capture issues of “vital interests [to] the company or moral or physical integrity of the employees.” However, the CNIL did broaden the scope of reportable issue types to include issues related to anti-competition practices, Sarbanes-Oxley and Japanese SOX. Accordingly, the CNIL clarified that the single authorization method will allow reporting on all of the following: finance/accounting, banking, fight against corruption, anti-competitive practices and compliance with Section 301(4) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Japanese Financial Instruments and Exchange Act.

An organization has six (6) months (beginning December 8, 2010) to modify their system to be in line with these new single authorization rules, or apply for formal consideration of their hotline through the CNIL. Operation of a whistleblower hotline outside the scope of the single authorization or without formal approval from the CNIL on a broader scope, puts organizations at risk for criminal sanctions and hefty fines. These criminal sanctions and fines may be issued by the CNIL and the French courts have the authority, in civil litigation, to multiply these sanctions up to 5 times.

Thanks to OnPoint..

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The International Bar Association (IBA) said about half the world’s lawyers haven’t heard of the FCPA


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The International Bar Association (IBA) said about half the world’s lawyers haven’t heard of the FCPA. Seventy percent are unaware of the U.K. Bribery Act, and four in ten don’t know about the OECD and U.N. anti-corruption conventions.

The IBA — a group of 40,000 lawyers and about 200 bar associations and law societies around the globe — surveyed 642 legal professionals in 95 jurisdictions. It worked with the OECD and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to learn what lawyers think about the risks of corruption and the tools available to fight it.

The majority of respondents selected « none of the above, » even in developed economies, when asked about anti-corruption tools such as the OECD convention, the FCPA, and the Bribery Act. More than 40 percent of respondents in developed countries such as Denmark, Germany, Canada, and Japan were not familiar with any instrument, a result that increased to more than 70 percent for participants in New Zealand and Hong Kong.

The results varied by region but showed:

  • Younger respondents (aged 20 to 30) were, on average, less aware of international anti-corruption laws and national legislation than older respondents.
  • Only 43 percent of respondents recognised that their bar associations provide some kind of anti-corruption guidance for legal practitioners. Of these, only a third said that such guidance specifically addresses the issue of international corruption.
  • Less than 40 percent of respondents said anti-corruption was a priority at their law firm and just under a third said that their firms do not have a clear and specific anti-corruption policy.
  • More than two-thirds of respondents said their law firms had not been subject to anti-corruption or anti-money laundering due diligence conducted by foreign clients.

Over half the lawyers surveyed said corruption is an issue in the legal profession in their own country. More than one in five, according to the IBA, said they’d been approached to take part in what they believed could be a corrupt transaction. And, one in three said they had lost business to corrupt law firms or individuals.

“The survey results are disappointing, so we need to do more to raise awareness of these instruments,” said Nicola Bonucci, Director for Legal Affairs at the OECD.

This part of article comes from the FCPA Blog (see sources).

As a french FCPA « specialist’ and working with lawyers (I’am about the join the Paris Bar) it is true that most of people that should normally involved in this matters are not aware about it. This could be understandable for SOX.. but OECD nor EU anti-corruption policy.

 

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