Under French law, corrupt practices fall into two main categories of offenses: (i) “corruption” offenses and (ii) “influence peddling” (trafic d’influence) offenses. The fundamental difference between these two categories is that, unlike the “corruptee” (i.e., the bribe-taker in corruption schemes), the “influence peddler” (i.e., the bribe-taker in influence peddling schemes) does not have the power to perform the corrupt act, but only acts as an intermediary, using influence to obtain the performance of the corrupt act from the relevant third party.

In practice, other offenses can also apply (concurrently or alternatively) to corrupt behaviors, including: criminal conspiracy (Art. 450-1 of the French Criminal Code), extortion (Art. 312-2), blackmail (Art. 312-10), fraud (Art. 313-1), money laundering (Art. 324-1), concealment of tainted funds (Art. 321-1), misappropriation of public funds (Art. 432-10 and 432-15), unlawful taking of interest in a business by a public official (Art. 432-12), favoritism in public procurement (Art. 432-14), misuse of company assets (Art. L. 241-3 of the French Commercial Code), violation of rules governing the financing of political parties and election campaigns (Art. L. 113-1 of the French Electoral Code), etc.

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