Yes. France can freeze assets belonging to persons within its territory pursuant to the Monetary and Financial Code (Articles L.561 and L.562) (“the Code”).
The Code entitles the Minister to order the freezing of some or all of any funds, financial instruments and economic resources belonging to:
individuals or legal entities who commit, or attempt to commit, terrorist acts, or who facilitate or participate in such acts (as defined in paragraph 4 of Article 1 of Council Regulation (EC) No. 2580/2001)
legal entities directly or indirectly controlled by such individuals (within the meaning of paragraphs 5 and 6 of the aforementioned Article 1 of Council Regulation (EC) No. 2580/2001) (L.562‑2 of the Code)
individuals, legal entities or organizations which have committed, or commit, or which, on account of their functions, are likely to commit, a breach of UN or EU sanctions, or which facilitate or participate in such acts
legal entities directly or indirectly controlled by such individuals (L.562-2 of the Code)
The income produced by the aforementioned funds, instruments and resources shall also be frozen.
What is the nature of the sanctions regime in France?
France follows the restrictive measures laid down by the UN, the EU and other international organizations which are binding on France, as well as measures introduced autonomously. Autonomous sanctions measures include financial measures, in particular the freezing of assets in France.
Does France maintain a list of sanctioned individuals and entities?
Yes. The General Directorate of the Treasury is responsible for issuing authorizations. Two types of authorization can be issued:
general license – this may be granted upon the request of the relevant financial institution or economic operator and remain effective until revoked. A general license will grant authorization for transactions of a specific type which would otherwise be subject to authorization
authorizations of a general nature – these are permanent authorizations which are publicized on its website under the relevant “country” section and under the applicable “national measures”
What are the consequences for a breach of sanctions in France?
According to Article 459 of the Customs Code, a penalty for the violation or attempted violation of internal regulatory and legal measures, as well as regulatory measures laid down by the EU, may result in imprisonment of up to five years, confiscation of the goods and/or the means of transport used, confiscation of the goods or assets resulting directly or indirectly from the breach, and a fine equal to the minimum amount and maximum double of the amount of the violation or attempted violation.
The same penalties apply to the management and the employees of financial institutions and the institutions and persons listed in Article L.562-3 of the Monetary and Financial Code that hold or receive any funds, financial instruments or economic resources, where these circumvent their legal obligations or obstruct the implementation of relevant measures.
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