Written by 9 h 44 min Addressing the root causes of poverty and resource deprivation in developing countries, Front page, Laundering Litigation, Press release-en, Strategic litigation, Strengthening corporate accountability litigation

Financing of Sarkozy’s 2007 presidential election by Libyan authorities: Airbus corruption cases in Libya face negotiated justice

Paris, November 29, 2022Tomorrow, the Paris Judicial Court will confirm or dismiss the French equivalent of criminal transaction (CJIP) concluded between Airbus and the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office, a negotiated justice procedure which allows companies to avoid a public trial upon admission of alleged facts of corruption. Corruption practices committed by Airbus in Libya have come to light during the investigations on the broader case on alleged Libyan officials financing of 2007 Sarkozy’s presidential campaign.

In the foreseen CJIP agreement, the company concedes having committed corruption via its subsidiary in Libya in 2006 in order to facilitate the sale of twelve planes to the Libyan company Afriqyah Airways. Sherpa, at the forefront of the fight against transnational corruption for 20 years, filed a criminal complaint being civil party on June 26, 2013, in this judicial information procedure. Tomorrow’s court hearing is an opportunity for Sherpa to challenge the conformity with Constitutional rights and freedoms of certain aspects of negotiated justice in grand corruption cases, through a priority preliminary ruling on constitutionality.

The initiative is unprecedented in France: corruption being too often, wrongly perceived as a “victimless” crime, the French Constitutional Court has never been presented with the opportunity to check whether the rights granted to victims in negotiated justice comply with French constitutional law. Main reason of this lying in the shrinking space for corruption victims and companies having no interest in challenging a favorable system. Sherpa uses its involvement in the procedure as a civil party to represent the victims’ interests, by requesting the Constitutional Council to monitor compliance of criminal transaction with the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution.

 Following the 2020 criminal transaction signed by Airbus (CJIP) concerning corruption offences in several countries, and for which the company had been ordered to pay a fine of 2 billion euros, this new agreement with the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office seems to be the final step toward the “whitewashing” of the company’s name for years of corruption practices. This part of a bigger corruption case is a yet another illustration of the longstanding tendency to resort to negotiated justice in corruption, that, in addition to establishing a two-speed justice system that favours corporations, allowing economic actors to buy their innocence.

The CJIP deprives victims of corruption to fairly assert their rights including having their damage repaired. Companies have de facto full control over the procedure, tailored to fit their interests.

On the eve of the hearing, Sherpa is once again stressing the dangerous nature of negotiated justice in matters of financial crime which favors a derogatory regime when companies and their managers are facing charges.

CJIP – Public Interest Judicial Agreement : Convention d’intérêts public 

For more information: presse@asso-sherpa.org

Last modified: 29 November 2022