Involvement in commercial criminal proceedings can threaten the existence of a company. This is not merely a matter of money but also the company’s reputation.
GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London - www.grprainer.com/en conclude: Commercial criminal law became increasingly important in the 1990s. The main focuses include corruption, insolvency offences, fiscal offences law, embezzlement and intellectual property theft.
Commercial criminal law is a response to the increase in white-collar crime. In order to effectively deal with this, so-called highly-specialised Schwerpunktstaatsanwaltschaften (specialised public prosecutor’s offices) able to act of their own motion were created in many German federal states. Criminal proceedings are heard in the specialised commercial divisions of the courts. This highlights the necessity in commercial criminal proceedings of the accused obtaining competent legal advice and support from suitably trained and competent lawyers.
This applies if a company has become the victim of or is said to have committed an economic offence. The consequences can be, inter alia, searches by the public prosecutor’s office and related media coverage. This may result not only in economic losses but also damage to one’s image and the loss of customers’ confidence. Companies concerned should therefore always consult a competent team of lawyers that can avert or at least mitigate the consequences in such cases.
If the company falls victim to an economic offence, it also makes sense to appear as a joint plaintiff to safeguard and enforce interests. It is frequently the case that aspects which go beyond the scope of pure criminal law, such as issues pertaining to tax and employment laws, need to be taken into account, making it all the more important to have the support and advice of a competent team of lawyers that covers the various areas of law with a high level of expertise.
Due to the often keen media interest in cases involving white-collar crimes, a very intensive, tactfully conducted consultation is always necessary. One must weigh up here whether it is more advisable to steer the investigations in as unspectacular a direction as possible without great public interest or use the media interest for one’s own purposes.
Furthermore, an intensive consultation can prevent potential crimes from arising e.g. due to ignorance regarding the changing legal situation.
Capital market legislation has also given rise to new risks in banking criminal law. Legal representation is essential here as well.