December 22, 2022

DOJ declines to prosecute French company for legacy FCPA violations

On December 22, 2022, the Criminal Division of the US Department of Justice and  Safran S.A. signed a letter agreement whereby the government declined to prosecute the company for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, despite bribery committed by two of Safran’s subsidiaries.

Safran is a multinational aerospace and defense company headquartered in France.  The DOJ gave several reasons for declining to prosecute in the face of evidence that employees and agents of Safran’s US and German subsidiaries, Monogram Systems and EVAC GmbH, paid millions of dollars to a close relative of a senior Chinese government official in order to obtain contracts with the Chinese government:

  1. The misconduct took place between 1999 and 2015, prior to Safran’s acquisition of the two subsidiaries, and Safran discovered it through post-acquisition due diligence and voluntarily self-disclosed the misconduct in a timely fashion.
  2. Safran cooperated fully with the government’s investigation, and has agreed to continue to do so, including making employees available for interviews and testimony.
  3. The company has engaged in timely and full remediation; this includes the enhancement of anti-corruption training and compliance, termination of an employee involved in the misconduct, and withholding of deferred compensation from another employee who also took part in the misconduct.

The declination is conditioned on Safran’s commitment to continued cooperation with the DOJ, the company’s payment of disgorgement of Monogram’s profits in the amount of $17,159,753, and an agreement on the part of Safran to accept responsibility and settle EVAC’s liability with German authorities, including payment of disgorgement for EVAC’s involvement in the bribery scheme.  The investigation by authorities in Germany is ongoing.

Declination letter