Global sanctions guide

  1. Does France have a sanctions regime in place?


  1. Does France implement UN sanctions?

Yes. France is a member of the European Union, which implements UN sanctions in all member states by way of directly effective regulations.

  1. Does France implement an autonomous sanctions regime?

Yes. France can freeze assets belonging to persons within its territory pursuant to the Monetary and Financial Code (Articles L.151-2, L.561 and L.562) (“the Code”).

The Code entitles the relevant 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 Article 1 of Council Regulation (EC) No. 2580/2001) (L.562-2 of the Code)
  • individuals, legal entities or organisations 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.

  1. 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 organisations 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.

  1. Does France maintain a list of sanctioned individuals and entities?

Yes. The Directorate-General of the Treasury maintains a consolidated list of persons (both legal and natural) who are subject to asset freezing:  The list can be found here

  1. Are there any other lists related to sanctions?

Yes. The Directorate-General of Customs and Indirect Taxes maintains a list of export/import sanctions: The list can be found here

  1. Does France have a licensing or authorisation system in place?

Yes. The Directorate-General of the Treasury is responsible for issuing authorisations. Two types of authorisation can be issued:

  • general licence – this may be granted upon the request of the relevant financial institution or economic operator and will remain effective until revoked. A general licence will grant authorisation for transactions of a specific type which would otherwise be subject to authorisation
  • authorisations of a general nature – these are permanent authorisations which are publicised on its website under the relevant “country” section and under the applicable “national measures”
  1. What are the consequences for a breach of sanctions in France?

The consequences for a breach, or attempted breach, of sanctions are set out in Article 459 of the French Customs Code.  They are:

  • imprisonment for up to 5 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
  • a fine up to twice the amount of the breach

The same penalties apply to the management and the employees of financial institutions (as listed in Article L.562-3 of the 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.

  1. Who are the relevant regulators in France and what are their contact details?

The Ministry for the Economy and Finance (Directorate-General of the Treasury) is responsible for administering financial and trade sanctions.

Ministry for the Economy and Finance
Directorate-General of the Treasury
Télédoc 151
139, Rue de Bercy
75572 Paris Cedex 12

T: (+33) 01 40 04 04 04
E: (French language only)

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responsible for administering sanctions relating to military equipment. 

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
37 Quai d’Orsay
75700 Paris 07 SP

T: (+33) 1 43 17 53 53

Contributor law firm

Wesley Pydiamah, Eversheds, 8 Place D'Iéna, Paris, 75116, France