Anti-corruption code of conduct


General principles
Payments and practices requiring specific attention
Illustrative examples



In general, corruption is the behaviour by which a person who holds a specific public or private function solicits or accepts, directly or indirectly, a gift, donation, promise or advantage of any kind, with a view to the performance or abstention of an act within their position or facilitated by it.

There is ‘passive’ corruption when the person in charge of such a function solicits or accepts such an advantage; there is ‘active’ corruption when a third party proposes or agrees to offer that advantage to the person holding the position concerned.

Active and passive corruption are two complementary but autonomous offences, both the ‘corrupter’ and the ‘corrupted’ can be punished; the facts of proposing or accepting an undue advantage are both sanctioned.

The acts of the corrupter and those of the corrupted may be prosecuted and judged separately, and the repression of the one is by no means subordinate to the sanction of the other. The same applies to active insider influence and passive insider influence.

Insider influence is an offence close to corruption: it is also a question of obtaining the performance of an act by a public or private person.

Insider influence means offering, directly or indirectly, offers, promises, donations, gifts or advantages to a public official or a private person, in order to abuse their real or supposed influence or to obtain a favourable decision from an authority or a public administration. Like corruption, insider influence is a criminal offence in France.

The notion of insider influence is close to that of corruption. The main difference lies in the fact that insider influence consists of giving an advantage to a person in order to abuse their influence with a public official in order to obtain the desired decision. Corruption, in turn, consists of giving an advantage (directly or indirectly) to a public official to induce them to perform or refrain from performing an act within their position.

Patronage is financial, or material support provided by a company or private individual to an action or activity of general interest (culture, research, humanitarian, etc.).

Patronage is generally distinguished from sponsorship or mentoring by the type of the actions supported and by the fact that there is normally no contractual publicity counterpart for the support of the patron.

The patron appears therefore relatively discreet around the event or the supported action, but on the other hand it can show its allegiance on its own communication media.

Patronage generally corresponds with objectives of image and communication / internal mobilisation.

In some countries patronage allows tax deductions, unlike sponsorship which is often considered as an advertising investment.

Sponsorship refers to financial or material support provided to an event or individual by an advertising partner in exchange for various forms of visibility.

In addition to the various forms of visibility for advertising purposes, the sponsoring contract may provide for the participation of the sponsored individual in various corporate events.

The sponsor advertiser is seeking the visibility offered by the event, but also positive image transfers depending on the type of event and the values associated with it. It can also use its sponsoring action internally for the motivation and awareness raising of employees.

The best known and most visible form of sponsoring is sports sponsoring.

Sponsoring differs from patronage in its format and tax treatment.

Lobbying is an activity that consists of establishing and fostering a dialogue with regulatory authorities that might affect Rexel’s business in order to explain and assert its position.