Although under current German law only the conduct of natural persons can be punished as a criminal offense, and the Association Sanctions Act failed to clear the parliamentary hurdles in its most recent attempt, the defense of companies is more topical than ever. The reason for this is that public prosecutors and criminal courts are making increasingly use of the instruments of confiscation and forfeiture, which can also affect companies.
The secondary involvement of companies in criminal and misdemeanor proceedings has almost become the norm.
As a result, companies are threatened with asset forfeiture and fines whenever criminal offenses or misdemeanors are committed in an business context. Numerous laws and regulations now provide for fines of up to 10% of the group's total annual turnover, and in some cases even more.
There is also the risk of being excluded from public contracts or being deemed unreliable under trade law. Reputational risks can also arise from "naming and shaming". Many laws provide for this in the event of fines.
A breach of supervisory duties at management level is often associated with a corporate fine. A thorough understanding of the requirements of law enforcement agencies regarding the establishment and monitoring of policies and procedures is therefore essential to a successful corporate defense. This applies to corruption, money laundering and sanctions and embargoes as well as to compliance with data protection, occupational health and safety or environmental regulations.
In addition, in the context of corporate defense, there may be areas of tension with the interests of persons acting for the company, which need to be considered from the outset.
With over 20 years' experience in both individual and corporate defense, a strong reputation with many law enforcement agencies, and a deep understanding of business processes across a wide range of industries, we have what it takes to advise and represent your business in the best possible way.