France Reverses Position on Transfer of Criminal Liability in Mergers

Latham & Watkins LLP

In light of a landmark decision from France’s highest court, acquiring companies will have to give greater consideration to criminal risks potentially weighing on them as a result of the merger.

The Cour de cassation (the French Supreme Court) has found that in the context of a merger by absorption, the absorbing company may be held criminally liable for offences committed by the absorbed company prior to the operation. The landmark 25 November decision reverses the French Supreme Court’s prior position.

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