The market for “forensic” offers, the search for evidence for corruption investigations, is growing. Faced with the large Anglo-Saxon firms which dominate the sector, ADIT, attached to the State, is launching the first service labeled “sovereign” to address fears of data leakage from French companies.
ADIT, the leader in economic intelligence affiliated with the French state, is launching a “sovereign” offer for French companies in corruption investigations. Active for a year in the search for legal and financial evidence, the group led by Philippe Caduc has just created a joint venture with Bruno Delamotte, the founder of the security company Risk & Co.
Together, they are launching ADN (ADIT Digital Network) to offer digital investigation services (search for evidence on emails, servers and mobiles), the so-called “forensic” branch in full development. This initiative comes as Weinberg Capital, which owns 66% of ADIT alongside bpifrance (33%) and the State (via a preferred share), is seeking to sell its shares to a French player.
“With the Sapin law and the blocking law, manufacturers and public authorities are very vigilant about the nature of the data transmitted with the agreement of the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office. The data must therefore be protected from the moment of extraction and the latter must obey clear and auditable rules comparable to those of criminal proceedings ”, explains the president of DNA, the new joint venture.
As an additional pledge, its staff, coming in part from the police administration or the gendarmerie, will be entitled to secrecy and familiar with legal proceedings. The first full-scale tests are already being carried out with SBF 120 companies in anticipation of the launch of an offer in June.
The DNA announcement is not good news for the American “forensics” firms that dominate the market. With the investigations of the American Department of Justice and the new French requirements, the requests for investigation of the compliance departments of French companies have certainly increased.
And FTI, FRA, Kroll and the “big four” of the audit (EY, PwC…) have widened their playing field in a rather “attractive” French market – France placing itself in 21st place behind Japan and ahead of United States in Transparency International’s global corruption perception ranking.
But the 18 billion dollars in fines imposed by the American judicial authorities on European groups have exacerbated fears of strategic data leaks, notably via these “forensic” firms, to foreign states. To remedy this, the State has initiated a reform of the blocking law.
Within Anglo-Saxon firms, we are quite far from sharing DNA arguments. “A French ‘forensic’ cabinet does not have a monopoly on the sovereign, believes Stéphanie Lhomme, specialized in these issues at FTI, and who worked with Bercy on these issues. In our business line, we insisted that the evidence of corruption or fraud extracted for the benefit of companies remain in France, on specially dedicated servers. “
In addition, she underlines, the data of companies exposed to the international market are rarely only located in the territory. This assumes teams in many geographies. “And to negotiate in the face of American justice, an Anglo-Saxon service provider who knows the codes can be more effective. “ The competition promises to be intense.
French-style “forensics” aroused the interest of other players. Deveryware, the geolocation expert who works for the Interior and Justice, has just acquired Tracip, a digital data extraction laboratory close to the gendarmerie.