Fascinating article by the team at White & Case on the new guidelines recently released by the French Anti-corruption Agency ("AFA") and the National Financial Prosecution Office ("PNF") regarding the implementation of the judicial agreement in the public interest ("CJIP").  This is often referred to as the French DPA (Deferred Prosecution Agreement).

It is really interesting to see how crucial a thorough independent internal investigation will be to allow companies to benefit from the CJIP.  Most investigations of this nature require an element of both forensic accounting and forensic technology investigative skills to ensure that they are comprehensively covered.

Both forensic accounting and forensic technology investigations have the same fundamental goal – to prove exactly what happened during a given period, and to attribute actions to a specific individual or group of people, allowing effective and appropriate response. They both rely on the acquisition and analysis of data in an efficient way. We live in a digital age, and every action leaves a digital footprint which can be unravelled. Even in exceptional circumstances - such as a computer being tampered with - forensic evidence can be recovered and help trace back what happened and when. In short, using forensic tools investigators can find data even when it may have seemingly been destroyed.

Investigations of any kind often include both financial data analytics, for instance, looking at payment trends, and a review of corporate email.  Written communications between parties and instructions given often play a significant part in piecing together the whole story. Whilst most people are aware that email can be recovered and reviewed, many still use it as part of an improper purpose.

Therefore, to look to take advantage of a CJIP, companies must ensure that they have the right team in place, including lawyers, forensic accountants and forensic technologists.