The term of white collar crime is neither defined by law nor is there a generally accepted definition in Germany. According to our understanding, white collar crime is used to classify criminal and administrative offenses, which penalize or sanction the behavior of natural persons, legal persons and partnerships involved in the economy. Characteristic for white collar crime is the wide range, different links to other areas of law, such as commercial, social, labor and administrative law. Profound economic knowledge and understanding of non-criminal law is therefore indispensable.
White collar crime has gained importance in recent years and has an important influence on the economy. Mostly with the reference to close alleged intolerable criminal liability loopholes, the legislator implements new criminal offences or extends existing acts. Not only prosecutors, but also the case-law and the jurisprudence seem to have a remarkable tendency to interpret criminal offenses extensively, with no respect of the constitutionally anchored principle of ultima ratio. As a result, corporations and their acting persons are often confronted unexpectedly with criminal investigations and require legal expert advice. The criminal defending has to be compliant with the non-criminal liability risks and consequences.
Part of white collar crime is especially:
Tax criminal law includes all norms, which sanction violation of tax law (criminal offences and administrative offences). Usually, the norms of tax offences refer to the general tax law.
Tax criminal offences are especially tax fraud, tax evasion, receiving, holding or selling goods obtained by tax evasion, commercial or gang damage of VAT tax revenue, counterfeiting money, illegal import, export, or transit of goods and smuggle. Tax administrative offences are especially, reckless tax evasion, general minor tax fraud, damage of VAT tax revenue, unauthorised acquisition of claims to a tax refund and rebate.
Due to the structure of German criminal law, criminal proceedings against individual persons are the focus of preliminary and criminal proceeding. The recent past has shown that the risk of being accused – frequently unjustly – in a preliminary procedure has become an integral part of the entrepreneurial risk. The opening of criminal investigation puts much strain on the affected persons and changes unavoidable the interests of the involved parties.
BRÖCKERS Rechtsanwälte provides serious and reliable support to representatives of business and politics as well as private clients in these threatening situations. Profound knowledge of the law and economic and commercial understanding are the foundation for strategic solutions, which we creatively develop in cooperation with you. Besides this, the non-criminal consequences – i.e. professional and economic – must be considered. If needed, we provide our proven and long established network or work together with your consultants in a trustworthy cooperation.
Although there is no original criminal law for corporations in Germany, legal persons and partnerships can be affected by non-criminal fines and criminal proceedings in a variety of ways: On the one hand as victims of the criminal behavior of their employees, on the other hand as beneficiaries; in the opinion of prosecution authorities, both phenomena could occur together. As investigating authorities see themselves increasingly as supervisory authorities, non-criminal fines and criminal proceedings can have a massive impact on legal persons and partnerships. While non-criminal fines up to EUR 10 million may already be imposed under the “OwiG” (German Act on Regulatory Offences), in antitrust law unrestricted fines can be imposed. Besides the fines, levy or confiscation of unlawfully obtained monetary value by a criminal act may threaten the existence of corporations.
BRÖCKERS Rechtsanwälte is experienced in the consulting and representation of DAX-30-listed companies, well-known medium-sized enterprises as well as smaller, often highly specialized companies from a wide range of industries.
BRÖCKERS Rechtsanwälte coordinates the defense of employees and executives of the company, and represents the company vis-à-vis authorities as well as, if it is unavoidable, in court.
The apparently quite new recognition that the law has to be observed led to the implementation of the Anglo-American term “compliance” into German criminal law. While compliance with law may sound obviously, a compliance system is now also in Germany a necessary component of risk management, not only for reasons of liability. From a criminal law perspective, a compliance system is indispensable in order to avoid or significantly reduce the risk of sanctions against companies as well as against their executives.
The concrete design of the system has to be decided by taking into account the individual parameters, in particular the nature and extent of the company as well as the industry-specific features. BRÖCKERS Rechtsanwälte will be pleased to advise you and, if necessary, uses its proven network. BRÖCKERS Rechtsanwälte also provides support and expertise – usually in cooperation with specialists – in the investigation and evaluation in identified critically facts.
As a reaction to the increasing willingness of authorities to initiate criminal investigations against companies and their executives, to impose lavish fines, to confiscate large amounts of millions in favour of the treasury, the – at least sometimes – relatively vague statutory definitions and the tendency of the case-law to interpret criminal law acts extensively, preventive counselling to limit the liability become indispensable. According to the case-law of the German Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof), from the perspective of the Person, that is getting preventive counselling, both the informant and the information must be reliable. They are only reliable, if it has been given after an objectively, carefully, responsible, and dutiful review of the factual and legal situation (BGH, Urteil v. 11.10.2012 – 1 StR 213/10 –). In the light of these strict requirements, BRÖCKERS Rechtsanwälte gives legal advises and furnishes expert opinions only in consideration of the complete facts according to scientific standards.