Paris Counsel David Père was interviewed April 18 by Global Investigations Review on the Gauvain Report. Though the report is not yet public, the French newspaper Les Echos published an article on March 25 containing leaked excerpts. The leaked report outlines proposals to enhance France’s Blocking Statute, which prohibits individuals and corporations from disclosing information of an economic, commercial, industrial, financial or technical nature and information of “national interest” to foreign authorities. It also recommends expanding the power of France’s Strategic Information and Economic Security Service (SISSE), the branch of the finance ministry responsible for economic security, which oversees the application of the Blocking Statute. As most data will not be characterized as of “national interest,” the report recommends expanding legal privilege to cover in-house counsel communications to block such information being shared in foreign proceedings. Père said Gauvain’s proposals show France wants to investigate and prosecute its own companies rather than leaving that duty to foreign authorities. “It’s logical and normal for France to want to defend its companies from foreign authorities, but that should not be misinterpreted as leniency towards those investigated companies in France,” he said. “French courts have made it clear that they want to sanction corruption and fraud seriously, as the recent UBS case showed.”

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