1. Does France have a sanctions regime in place?
2. Does France implement UN sanctions?
Yes. When a United Nations Security Council Resolution establishes a financial, economic and trade sanctions regime, each Member-State of the European Union is responsible for transposing it into national law and enforcing it. With regard to European Union Member States, the implementation of UNSC Resolutions may be carried out, in whole or in part, by the European Union as long as they fall within its jurisdiction.
3. Does France implement an autonomous sanctions regime?
Economic and financial sanctions are an instrument of France’s foreign and internal policy. They are designed to fight against money laundering, financing of terrorism, or other prohibited activities1. French law distinguishes three types of sanctions: sanctions decided by the UN, sanctions enacted at the European Union level and sanctions implemented at the national level which are neither of UN or EU origin. The autonomous French sanctions are implemented by decree or order pursuant to Articles L. 562-1 and seq. and R. 562-1 and seq. of the French Monetary and Financial Code. Accordingly, the French Minister of Economy and the Minister of the Home Affairs may decide, jointly, to take freezing measure, autonomous from the measures resulting from the UN and European sanctions regimes2.
4. What is the nature of the sanctions regime in France?
France follows the restrictive measures laid down by the UN, the EU and other international organizations which are binding under French law, as well as measures introduced autonomously. Autonomous sanctions measures include financial measures, in particular the freezing of assets in France. France can freeze assets belonging to persons within its territory pursuant to the Monetary and Financial Code (Articles L.561 and L.562)3.
The Code entitles the Minister of Economy and the Minister of the Home Affairs to jointly order the freezing of some or all of any funds, financial instruments and economic resources belonging to:
- individuals or legal entities who commit, or attempt to commit, terrorist acts, or who facilitate or participate in such acts (Article L562-2),
- legal entities directly or indirectly controlled by such individuals (Article L562-2).
The Ministry of Economy can unilaterally decide to order the freezing of all of any funds, financial instruments and economic resources belonging to:
- individuals, legal entities or organizations which have committed, or commit, finance or support a breach of UN or EU sanctions, or which facilitate or participate in such acts; (Article L.562-3); and
- legal entities directly or indirectly controlled by such individuals (Article L.562-3).
5. Does France maintain a list of sanctioned individuals and entities?
Yes. A national register of persons and entities subject to a freezing measure is established pursuant to Article R.562-2 of the Monetary and Financial Code4. This register lists all persons, entities and vessels subject to asset freeze measures in force on the French territory, pursuant to national, European and UN decisions.
6. Are there any other lists related to sanctions?
Yes. French Customs maintain a map of embargoed countries5. The Treasury also maintains a summary list of all restrictive measures by country6.
7. Does France have a licensing or authorization system in place?
Yes. The General Directorate of the Treasury is responsible for issuing authorizations. Two types of authorization can be issued:
- general license – this may be granted upon the request of the relevant financial institution or economic operator and remains effective until revoked. A general license will grant authorization for transactions of a specific type which would otherwise be subject to authorization; and
- authorizations of a general nature – these are permanent authorizations which are publicized on its website under the relevant “country” section and under the applicable “national measures"7.
8. What are the consequences for a breach of sanctions in France?
According to Article 459 of the Customs Code8 and Article L574-3 of the Monetary and Financial Code, the consequence of the violation or attempted violation of the sanctions regime may result in imprisonment of up to five years, confiscation of the goods and/or the means of transport used, confiscation of the goods or assets resulting directly or indirectly from the breach, and a fine equal to at least the amount and up to the double of the amount of the violation or attempted violation.
9. Who are the relevant regulators in France and what are their contact details?
The Ministry for the Economy and Finance (Directorate-General of the Treasury) is responsible for administering financial and trade sanctions. Ministry for the Economy and Finance Directorate-General of the Treasury Télédoc 151 139, Rue de Bercy 75572 Paris Cedex 12 France T: (+33) 01 40 04 04 04 E: firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.economie.gouv.fr/ (French language only)
Contributor law firm
Léonor d’Albiousse, Associate
Eversheds Sutherland (France),
8 Place D'Iéna,
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