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E-library Corporate Law Liabilities of French corporate officers

Liabilities of French corporate officers

18 Mar 2012

Corporate officers of French companies (CEOs, members of a board of directors, etc.) may incur civil or criminal liability for various acts or omissions.

Civil liability

Civil liability may be incurred, inter alia, for actions or omissions which:

  • violate applicable law or the company’s bylaws, or
  • constitute acts of mismanagement (“faute de gestion”).

Criminal liability

Criminal liability may be incurred, inter alia, for:

  • embezzlement,
  • abuse of corporate position or votes,
  • distribution of fictitious dividends,
  • presentation of false accounts.

The above acts, if committed intentionally, are punishable by up to five years imprisonment and a fine up to 375.000€. Intention may however be inferred from the corporate officer’s knowledge of the damage caused to the company by such acts.

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