Alstom case illustrates a complete failure of France in its fight against cross border corruption

Issued by Transparency International France

On 22 December 2014, France’s failure to fight global corruption was illustrated by Alstom’s agreement to pay a fine of $ 772 million to the US Government, the highest to date, for  corrupt practises around the world over a 10 year period.

This event, which has not received much attention in the French media, illustrates a double failure :

First, the lack of  real political will to introduce criminal actions for bribery where it could possibly weaken our national « champions » in their exports.  Second, the inadequacy of the judicial remedies being applied to crime in international business deals.

Transparency International France has for several years highlighted, in its progress reports on the 1997 OECD Convention, the absence of  any conviction by French courts while other major exporting countries, UK and Germany, not to mention the USA, show a constantly improving record.

The practise of concluding out of court settlements enabled first the United States and more recently some of our closest neighbouring countries to overcome the obstacle of the finding of evidence, of the length of time and the cost of investigations. The reluctance of the French judiciary to adopt these new tools is due, in our view, more to an insufficient training of judges and to cultural factors rather than to unsurmountable legal obstacles.

The small size of penalties ordered in the few French court decisions handed out in cross- border corruption cases does not provide any deterrent effect: why should a company or individual agree to a plea bargain where normal proceedings will result, many years later, only in a nominal penalty?

Transparency International France expresses the wish that the Alstom case will trigger in France the long awaited shock permitting the reinforcement of the preventive tools and the punitive framework applicable to corruption, and will present in the coming weeks our proposals to this effect.

Transparency International France invites the Alstom board of directors to respond at board level, to the violations which have thus been disclosed.

For any press enquiries please contact

Julian Névo
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Tél: +33 (0)1 84 16 95 65


Support Transparency International

La Justicia española debe investigar el lavado de imagen de Azerbaiyán en Europa

Tres políticos españoles —Pedro Agramunt, Agustín Conde Bajén y Jordi Xuclá— se encuentran entre los delegados ante la Asamblea Parlamentaria del Consejo de Europa (APCE) sobre los que pesan sospechas de haberse beneficiado con la maniobra del “Laundromat”.

Clean up Spain – Justice for Azerbaijan’s reputation laundering in Europe

In Azerbaijan, critical voices are routinely suppressed. Meanwhile in Europe, politicians suspected of helping whitewash Azerbaijan’s record on human rights enjoy impunity. Join our campaign to urge authorities in Spain to investigate.

Everything you need to know about the 18th International Anti-Corruption Conference (#18IACC)

The #18IACC will take place from 22-24 October in Copenhagen, Denmark under the theme Together for Development, Peace and Security: Now is the Time to Act. Get the latest info and updates here!

Risky business: Europe’s golden visa programmes

Are EU Member States accepting too much risk in their investor migration schemes?

Future Against Corruption Award 2018

TI is calling on young people across the globe to join the anti-corruption movement. People between the age of 18 and 35 are invited to submit a short video clip presenting their idea on new ways to fight corruption. Three finalists will be invited to Berlin during the International Anti-Corruption Day festivities to be awarded with the Future Against Corruption Award. Apply today!

The Azerbaijani Laundromat one year on: has justice been served?

In September last year, a massive leak of bank records from 2012 to 2014 showed that the ruling elite of Azerbaijan ran a $3 billion slush fund and an international money laundering scheme. One year on, has enough been done to hold those involved to account?

Right to information: knowledge is power

The right to information is vital for preventing corruption. When citizens can access key facts and data from governments, it is more difficult to hide abuses of power and other illegal activities - governments can be held accountable.

Social Media

Follow us on Social Media