Presented on Wednesday 30 March 2016 to the Council of Ministers, the Sapin 2 Law gives a new impetus to the fight against corruption in France. Online trading, which has cost the French €4.5 billion in 6 years, is at the heart of this program. Here is an overview of the planned changes
No more advertising!
After the billions of dollars lost in online trading, Finance Minister Michel Sapin proposes in his new law a ban on advertising for this type of investment. Misleading advertisements are, of course, the first targets of this measure, since since the popularization of the practice, French individuals have regularly been screwed on the web. This is despite many warnings from the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF). Thus, the Sapin 2 Law provides that Forex brokers and binary options are prohibited from broadcasting advertisements, including banners, pop-ups, mailings and, of course, aggressive solicitations. In the event of an offence, criminal sanctions could then be applied.
Better control for the AMF
In addition to prohibiting advertising in trading, the Sapin 2 Act also provides for strengthening the AMF‘s control resources. In particular, the establishment of a National Anti-Corruption Agency could help the institution to better detect stock exchange offences. Replacing the Central Corruption Prevention Service established in 1993, this body will develop more in-depth strategies, with supporting investigations, and will be able to apply sanctions in the event of violations. The law also addresses international corruption and provides for criminal sanctions if the rules are not respected. Companies operating abroad, particularly those in finance, must now move away from corruption, at the risk of criminal conviction.
Other points addressed in the Sapin 2 Law
Other anti-corruption measures are also addressed in the Sapin 2 Law which, as a reminder, was put in place to fill the gaps in the first Sapin Law which came into force in 1993. Better protection for whistleblowers is proposed by the Minister of Finance. Citizens who have witnessed illegal practices are thus encouraged to report them, with a guarantee of protection from the new agency. Lobbying is also being reframed by the Tree 2 Act, with the creation of a national directory of lobbyists and a stricter verification of gifts. The Council of State also rejected the proposal for a “criminal transaction”, which is based on a “guilty plea”. But in any case, all the lines should allow for more transparent financial transactions.