France is one of the world’s most modern countries that sees itself as a leader among the European nations and is an active member of the European Union (EU) since 1985.
In 2020, their GDP fell by 8.2%, a historic drop for France, and a much sharper average in the Euro area. Due to COVID, the country expects a fall of the economy from 6% to 5%. In an interview, the Economic Minister, Bruno Le Maire, stated that the industrial and construction sectors are less sensitive to the restrictions than during the first lockdown and can act as a driver for the French economy. Thus, industrial production recovered strongly in January, posting monthly growth of 3.3%, though still 1.7% below its pre-crisis level (February 2020).
Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Status
France has been a member of the FATF since 1990. They are an observer to the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG), Eurasian Group (EAG), Financial Action Task Force of Latin America (GAFILAT), and the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force (MENAFATF).
France and the FATF have three mutual evaluations for France. The country has a comprehensive array of legal tools for criminalising terrorist financing; likewise, law enforcement authorities have the investigative techniques and powers for combating terrorist financing and money laundering, which comply with the FATF requirements. They can offer extensive mutual legal assistance for investigations and prosecutions relating to money laundering and terrorist financing.
Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG)
France is an observer to the APG. The purpose of APG is to ensure the adoption, implementation, and enforcement of internationally accepted AML and counter-terrorist financing standards as set out in the FATF Forty Recommendations and FATF Eight Special Recommendations.
Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF)
France is one of the co-operating and supporting nations (COSUNs) to the CFATF. The CFATF implements common counter-measures against money laundering and terrorism financing agreed by the states and territories of the Caribbean basin.
Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF)
The Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) regulates the French financial marketplace, its participants, and the investment products distributed via the markets. It also ensures that investors are adequately informed and is a driving force behind the regulatory change at European and international levels. As an independent public authority, it has regulatory powers and a substantial financial and managerial independence level. The AMF’s task is to regulate, supervise, inform, and protect.
The Commission Nationale De L’informatique et Des Libertés (CNIL)
CNIL translates to National Commission on Informatics and Liberty. The CNIL ensures compliance of all personal data processing with French and EU data protection rules and data protection rules resulting from international commitments of France. It also has the power to control and sanction laws.
The European anti-money laundering directives (AMLD) are formed to prevent money laundering or terrorist financing and establish a consistent regulatory environment across the EU. They address the emerging money laundering and terrorist financing analysis, helping to close AML compliance gaps.
The French Monetary and Financial Code (Book V, Title VI) and the French Criminal Code (Article 324-1, and Article 421-1-6) provide the foundations for AML and CFT regulations in France. As an EU member state, France is required to implement EU law as part of its domestic legislation. This means that France must abide by the EU AMLD that are regularly issued by the EU Commission.
France enacted Law n°2018-493 of June 20, 2018, in compliance with Global Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) modifying the French Data Protection Act (FDPA). The change was to align French data protection law with the GDPR. The French GDPR Law also provides specific rules on certain topics based on the GDPR’s broad opening clauses permitting EU member states to enact national legislation. GDPR compliance is a significant data protection consideration, significantly since penalties for non-compliance can rise to €20 million (or 4% of global revenue).
Under the French, EU and FATF AML requirements, banks and financial institutions in France must perform customer due diligence (CDD) procedures when onboarding new customers. They are also required to perform AML screening to eliminate potential threats and dealing with politically exposed persons (PEPs).
Find out more about the latest French legislation, regulations, and legal publications at Légifrance, the official website of the French government.
French verification available
Any French citizen can be verified using government, commercial or credit data sources. Based on the documentation verified against the data sources, the name, date of birth (DOB), nationality and address can be validated.
The Ministry of the Interior (Ministère de l’Intérieur) in France is one of the most important French government cabinet positions. They are responsible for granting identity documents (passports, identity cards and driving licenses) through the network of prefectures.
French citizens can be verified using the following documents:
National Identity Card
The Citizenship Services Directorate of Legal and Administrative Information issue the Carte Nationale d’Identite or CNI (french identity card). It is an official identity document bearing a photograph, name, and address. While the identity card is non-compulsory, all persons must possess some form of valid government-issued identity documentation. France recently updated their identity cards with an electronic microchip and QR code. It can verify nationality, name and DOB of customers.
The Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs issues the French passport. It can verify nationality, name, and DOB of customers.
Permis de conduire or drivers licence is a credit card sized card issued by the Imprimerie Nationale, under the control of the ANTS – Agence Nationale des Titres Sécurisés. You can verify your customers’ name, address, DOB and Licence number.
Global watchlists can identify if a French citizen is a high-risk individual or entity. You can screen your customers against PEPs, Sanctions, and adverse media lists.