On June 4, 2018, U.S. officials announced agreements with Paris-based multinational bank Société Générale S.A. (“SocGen”) and one of its subsidiaries to resolve charges related to a multi-year scheme to bribe Libyan government officials and separate charges related to manipulation of the London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”). SocGen and subsidiary SGA Société Générale Acceptance N.V. (“SGA”) agreed to pay more than $1 billion in penalties and disgorgement in connection with the resolutions, and SGA agreed to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA.
According to the agreed-upon statement of facts in the resolutions, SocGen paid bribes to Libyan government officials in connection with 14 investments made by state-owned financial institutions between 2004 and 2009, disguised as purported commission payments to a Libyan intermediary that assisted the company in securing the investment deals. Separately, the resolutions state that SocGen transmitted falsely deflated U.S. Dollar (“USD”) LIBOR submissions between May 2010 and October 2011 to create the appearance that it was able to borrow at more favorable interest rates and was more creditworthy than it was. In its press release, DOJ noted that the downward manipulation was ordered by senior SocGen executives and frequently altered daily USD LIBOR figures, thus impacting a range of financial products on a worldwide basis.
SocGen has entered into a deferred prosecution agreement, agreeing to pay a $585 million penalty for the FCPA violations, although DOJ agreed to reduce the amount by up to half based on payments made to French authorities. For the LIBOR-related conduct, SocGen will pay a $275 million penalty, in addition to a $475 million civil penalty assessed by the CFTC. DOJ deemed a corporate monitor unnecessary in light of SocGen’s remediation efforts and ongoing monitoring by French authorities. In announcing the FCPA resolutions, DOJ officials cited SocGen’s failure to voluntarily self-disclose the misconduct, its provision of “substantial, though not full” cooperation, and the value of bribes paid to foreign officials.
United States v. Société Générale S.A., 18-cr-00253 (E.D.N.Y.)
United States v. SGA Société Générale Acceptance N.V., 18-cr-00274 (E.D.N.Y.)