Feb 22, 2012
On February 10, the Autorité de la Concurrence in France issued its framework document on compliance programs; we’ve attched a link to it below.
Compliance programmes are instruments that enable economic players to increase their chances of avoiding breaches of all kinds of rules that are applicable to their activity, including competition rules. These programmes rely not only on informational measures intended to create a compliance culture (training, awareness), but also on operational initiatives (such as whistle-blowing and advice and audit systems) that are indispensable in helping companies to prevent, detect and solve cases of potential misconduct. The Autorité encourages companies to set up antitrust compliance programmes, either on a standalone basis or within the framework of their overall compliance policy, and to allocate sufficient resources to these programmes to ensure they are successful. A list of “best practices” that can contribute to the efficiency of antitrust compliance programmes is laid out in the current framework-document.
Companies committing to set up or to upgrade an existing compliance programme according to the aforementioned best practices, in the context of a settlement with the Autorité, may expect a reduction of their fine of up to 10%, under the conditions provided by the current framework-document. This reduction will be added to the 10% reduction corresponding to the settlement proper, and to the further 5% reduction that may be awarded in return of other commitments undertaken in accordance with the procedural notice of theAutorité of 10 February 2012.