French anti-corruption law
Since 2014, SNCF has worked hard to prevent and fight corruption. To support this effort, our Ethics and Deontology Division launched a programme outlined in a March 2015 memo from our Chairman and Deputy Chairman.
This voluntary effort became a legal obligation on 9 December 2016, when France adopted its Transparency, Anti-Corruption and Economic Modernisation Act. Under Article 17 of the Act, once an EPIC (a state-owned industrial and commercial enterprise) reaches a certain size, it must take eight actions designed to prevent and detect corruption and influence-peddling in France and abroad.
Requirements under French law
Code of conduct
Adopt a code of conduct that fights corruption1 by defining and illustrating the various types of prohibited behaviour usually associated with corruption and influence-peddling.
The code expands on these points in areas with the highest risk of corruption: contracts, calls for tenders, facilitation payments, corporate sponsorships and partnerships, conflicts of interest and use of agents.
Set up a whistleblowing system that employees can use to report situations that violate our code of conduct.
Risk mapping system
Develop a risk-mapping system to identify, analyse and prioritize risks exposing the company to situations involving corruption, with special emphasis on the industries and regions in which the company does business.
Due diligence procedures
Conduct due diligence procedures to assess the positions of customers, lead suppliers and agents based on the risk-mapping system.
Adopt internal or external accounting control procedures to ensure that none of the company’s books, ledgers or accounts are used to cover up corruption or influence-peddling.
Deploy a training programme for employees with the highest exposure to corruption and influence-peddling risks.
Create an enforcement system to sanction employees who violate the code of conduct.
Set up an internal monitoring and assessment system to evaluate the measures adopted by the company.
Oversight by the French Anti-Corruption Agency
France’s Anti-Corruption Agency (AFA) has oversight authority to ensure that companies comply with these eight requirements. AFA is authorized to conduct investigations, and if it finds that a business has failed to properly deploy an anti-corruption programme, it can impose financial penalties up to €200,000 for individuals and €1,000,000 for legal entities.
We have already launched a number of compliance efforts, but we still have work to do, especially in the areas of risk-mapping and accounting control procedures. Our Ethics and Deontology Division leads this effort as part of its continuing mission.
1 SNCF’s anti-corruption code of conduct includes basic definitions of corruption and influence peddling, the challenges we face in fighting corruption and influence-peddling, dos and don’ts, case studies, legal definitions and a glossary.