Laws relating to economic offenses
It happens time and again that a suspect person is already under surveillance by either the prosecuting authorities or by investigating judges and is then unexpectedly „visited“ by the police or investigating officers of the customs authorities or tax investigators with or without a public prosecutor, who face him or her with an order for seizure or confiscation, possibly even a warrant of arrest. It is then either with or without a search that the person concerned is confronted with a formal notice concerning the „institution of investigation proceedings (or penal proceedings) on the grounds of.“ and is thus facing a situation which means acute and serious strain for him or her.
If you were to ever be faced with such a situation we offer you our professional assistance and support in the form of counsel, representation and defense in the case of an economic offense or secondary offenses („white-collar-crime“) by our experienced and specialized lawyers (Dr. Klaus Otto, certified expert lawyer for tax law, as well as Dr. Andreas Schröder, who both have long years of practical experience in matters calling for defence in penal cases).
From our experience we can say that - similar to cases of fiscal offenses – the foremost requirement in cases of economic offenses is always to weigh and use available opportunities of defence from both the formal and the material points of view in order to see to it and try that the proceedings will be dismissed, if possible already during the preliminary stages under Section 170 sub-section 2 of the German Code of Penal Procedure (for lack of sufficient grounds for suspicion), under Section 153 of the German Code of Penal Procedure (on account of minor fault and without the imposition of a monetary penalty) or under Section 153 a of the German Code of Penal Procedure (subject to payment of a monetary penalty); if the case then nevertheless ends with a Penal Order or the preferment of an indictment with an ensuing trial, we will, if an acquittal is not realistic, try - if possible and depending on the basic initial situation – to limit the imminent damage, for instance by way of a mutual understanding between the prosecution and the defence which may be negotiated and agreed-upon in penal proceedings and which is commonly referred-to as a „deal“.
In the field of economic offenses we frequently have to deal with the following topics and situations:
- Support and counseling by telephone or on site, as soon as the investigators of the criminal police or the prosecutor’s office are turning up;
- Ascertainment of facts and analysis of possible ways of defence and defence strategy;
- Realistic assessment of the nature and the amount or term of the punishment which is to be expected, and also in the event where this is possible, when a cumulative punishment including previous penalties will be decided upon at a later date;
- Assessment of and information concerning your rights as a witness and a right to refuse to give testimony to which recourse might possibly be had, or, if there is a risk of your having to incriminate your own self, providing information concerning the prerequisites and the limits of a right to refuse to give testimony ;
- defence in the case of a charge of failure to file for insolvency in due time following a self-filed or third-party-filed petition for insolvency, withholding employer’s statutory social insurance contributions;
- in the case of a suspicion of non-compliance with the obligation to keep accounting records or of bankruptcy; mostly in the case of limited liability companies under German law (‚GmbH’);
- ‚GmbH & Co. KG’ and ‚AG’ insolvency offenses in general
(a GmbH & Co. KG being a limited partnership with a private limited company as a general partner, and an AG being a stock corporation under German law),
- in cases of a charge of fraud, embezzlement, defalcation to the disbenefit of a ‚GmbH’, or of suppliers, customers or business partners;
- Fraudulent acquisition of subsidies and violations of antitrust law non-compliance with the norms which are set by penal provisions which are destined for the protection of business operations (anti- competitive offenses, offenses committed against the lawful use of patents and utility models);
- Verification of whether there is an opportunity for a limitation of penal action under the statute of limitations;
In some cases it is either parallel to or following penal economic offenses proceedings that these are followed by civil law litigation on the grounds of claims for damages, damages for pain and suffering or compensation for non-pecuniary damage, actions for a restrictive injunction, etc. Since we are then already familiar with the background and context of the case we can either fend off or assert the claims which are asserted against you or which you wish to assert as we can then rely on our in-depth familiarity with the case.
If this were to be needed we will naturally also be all ready to cooperate with your personal tax consultant or with a tax consulting office which is associated with our own office as a cooperating partner.