The New German Government Is Looking To Tackle Corporate Misconduct – Criminal Law

Irina Baranova


The New German Government Is Looking To Tackle Corporate Misconduct

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Niall Hearty of financial crime specialists Rahman
Ravelli sees Germany’s approach as part of a

Germany’s coalition government is to overhaul the
country’s laws on corporate misconduct.

The new government has outlined its priorities for the next four
years, which include a pledge to revise Germany’s corporate
misconduct legislation.

The coalition has said the changes will include clear rules
regarding companies’ compliance obligations. It will also
devise “a precise legal framework” for how companies
should conduct internal investigations and has said it will be
committed to greater cooperation with foreign law enforcement

While the government, which includes Social Democrats, Greens
and Free Democrats, has not offered any precise information about
the changes it is planning, the move has been largely welcomed.

Many in the German legal profession have stated that the
country’s current approach to corporate liability is
inadequate. Three years ago, the Organisation for Economic
Co-operation and Development (OECD) said in a report that it was
unhappy with Germany’s ability to only hold businesses liable
in a quarter of the country’s foreign bribery cases.

Some German legal practitioners believe the new government will
introduce an amended version of a corporate crime bill that did not
make it into law under the previous administration. That proposed
piece of legislation, the 2018 Corporate Sanctions Act, would have
introduced corporate criminal liability into Germany and made it
possible for courts to order monitoring of corporate offenders. But
it was not passed due to concerns that it would not recognise
internal investigations as privileged.

The German plans are not surprising. They come a month after the
Irish government published its new white-collar crime package to
tackle corruption and increase transparency and arrive at a time
when a number of European countries are looking to improve their
approach to corporate misconduct.

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