Dispute resolution: white-collar crime (including fraud) in Austria

Cerha Hempel

Cerha Hempel handles the full range of white-collar crime work including representing individuals and companies in investigative proceedings, and defending clients in matters before all levels of the court system including the Supreme Court; the group also actively pursues claims against alleged perpetrators in the criminal courts. On the advisory side, the group advises clients on compliance matters and conducts internal investigations, with a particular focus on representing construction companies in ongoing investigations. Peter Lewisch, who is praised as an 'excellent choice', the'outstanding' Hans Kristoferitsch and Stefan Huber jointly lead the team.

Practice head(s):

Peter Lewisch; Hans Kristoferitsch; Stefan Huber

Testimonials

CH is a very competetive law firm with wide expertise in legal issues. We appreciate the client orientated consulting services, the fees are fair and transparent.

Excellent lawyers, reliable, perfect performance, contemporary support service, friendly, clear explanation for the customer, excellent manners, wide knowledge and the advice is practice-orientated.

Requests are answered quickly, exactly and in a solid matter. Hans Kristoferitsch is an outstanding and invaluable lawyer.

Peter Lewisch teaches law at the university of Vienna and at the same time, advises and represents clients in high level criminal law cases. He also provides concise and clear legal opinions in the field and is an excellent choice because of his closeness to legal developments and unparalleled expertise. We have worked with Professor Lewisch in numerous very high level white-collar crime cases and have always been very pleased with his outstanding service. We have also worked together with Dr. Hans Kristoferitsch who also is an excellent criminal lawyer. He and his team are able to provide excellent and timely advice in white-collar crime matters.

Stephan Huber is probably the most responsive and effective professional I’ve worked with in the jurisdiction.

Key clients

Matthias Hartmann (former managing director of Burgtheater)

Wiener Stadtwerke

Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Magna

SPAR

SmartStream Technologies Inc.

Vienna International Airport

Wien Energie GmbH

Work highlights

  • Acting for Wiener Stadtwerke/Wien Energie in various criminal proceedings regarding allegations of fraud, corruption and manipulation of several tender proceedings.
  • Acting for the former managing director of an Austrian theatre in investigations relating to embezzlement, fraud and tax evasion charges.
  • Providing advice to a Romanian businessman involved in an alleged embezzlement case over the use of funds by the European Parliament.

DORDA Rechtsanwälte GmbH

DORDA Rechtsanwaelte GmbH's white-collar crime practice is integrated into the firm's wider dispute resolution group and provides comprehensive advice on all business crime-related issues. Practice co-heads Florian Kremslehner and the 'always perfectly prepared' Daniela Firulovic represent high-profile individuals and corporations, which are accused of fraud, embezzlement, bribery, corruption and tax evasion. Firulovic also handles internal investigations and acts for clients in asset recovery cases.

Practice head(s):

Florian Kremslehner; Daniela Firulovic

Testimonials

The quality of the work is outstanding in the market. For many years now, the team has been known for handling large and highly demanding criminal proceedings. As a client, I would like to work with a firm that has such enormous resources and experience. The head of the practice, Florian Kremslehner, is an exceptional lawyer with the highest sense of strategy. He is one of the best when it comes to international cases. I would recommend the practice in all matters of white-collar crime. The special strength of the team is certainly the close cooperation with the litigation department. Compared to other law firms, the enormous experience and depth of the team is certainly outstanding.

High involvement, helpful understanding of client’s situation, excellent availability and knowledge of my specific industry.

Daniela Firulovic deserves special mention here. I have worked with her on several cases in the past. Daniela’s legal work is of excellent quality. She is an expert in all areas of white-collar crime, and has – especially for her young age – an outstanding track record as defence counsel in front of criminal courts and financial criminal authorities. Daniela is always perfectly prepared in meetings and hearings, and is exceptionally creative and quick-witted in her arguments. You always get the impression that she is constantly fighting for her clients. She is tough in her arguments with the authorities and the prosecutor’s office, and fair and decent in discussions. Working with her is very pleasant. I would recommend her unconditionally as a defence lawyer and counsel in all matters of white-collar crime.

Key clients

Immofinanz

Work highlights

  • Represented stock listed real estate group Immofinanz and CPB Corporate Finance Consulting in Austria’s largest corruption trial.

KNOETZL HAUGENEDER NETAL

The 'outstanding' Bettina Knoetzl leads KNOETZL HAUGENEDER NETAL's white-collar crime department, which is recognised for operating at the interface of civil litigation and criminal law, with work frequently originating from the banking and finance, corporate and commercial groups. The team receives instructions from companies and individuals involved in fraud, criminal and business-irregularity investigations, and also handles asset tracing and recovery matters. The group acts for clients from a wide range of sectors, with key areas including the financial services, derivatives, aviation, automotive, accountancy, energy, defence, manufacturing, healthcare and pharmaceuticals industries.

Practice head(s):

Bettina Knoetzl

Testimonials

The team is highly responsive, maintains a high level of ethical standards in all dealings and is professionally better equipped than competitors due to their experience. Particularly in high level fraud cases, trust in a relationship is key, which is maintained by personalised relationship building.

Ability to succinctly summarise hundreds of pages within a criminal prosecution file; strong communication (both with clients/other lawyers and prosecution teams) as well as dealing with difficult legal and technical issues.

We appreciate KNOETZL for always providing top-class professional advice. Their dispute resolution team is particularly strong in advising clients on various WCC matters. It turned out as a fruitful cooperation.

Very reliable and most experienced team under the lead of Bettina Knoetzl. Most responsive and always available. Engaged and completely identifying with the client and his interests.

Bettina Knoetzl’s personal involvement and ethical standards reflect on the whole firm. Especially her personal dedication to every single case she takes up makes the difference. The perception of the client is, that at every instant, the client’s needs are treated like a personal quest of the attorney.

Bettina Knoetzl is always competent and responsive, and understands how to handle the most complex matters. She is really a dedicated lawyer.

Bettina Knoetzl – very experienced and most reliable in any respect.

Key clients

Dr. Schaden

Work highlights

  • Providing crisis management and strategic advice to a high-profile political figure to avoid criminal charges.
  • Advising on the largest price fixing scandal in the Austrian construction industry.
  • Advising on a large corruption matter relating to a public tender.

Wolf Theiss Rechtsanwalte GmbH & CoKG

As an integral part of the firm's disputes department, Wolf Theiss Rechtsanwalte GmbH & CoKG's white-collar crime practice handles a wide variety of work including asset recovery issues, global asset tracing matters and internal investigations. Companies also rely on the firm's expertise in compliance issues, while individuals and corporations benefit from the group's proficiency in criminal defence work; the team has also seen increased activity is cybercrime mandates. Clemens Trauttenberg, who acts for a variety of Russian clients, leads the team. Holger Bielesz moved to Cerha Hempel in early 2020.

Practice head(s):

Clemens Trauttenberg

Testimonials

Wolf Theiss’ team provides legal advice in the most efficient way that take into account our goals despite the complexity of multi-jurisdictional affairs and transactions and schemes to be considered, analysed and solved.’

Very strong, ambitious team and know how to handle big cases.

Probably the leading Austrian firm in the space, with a deep understanding of the particular requirements of the near-universal cross-border nature of fraud, asset recovery and white collar crime work. All members of the team in my experience slot easily and confidently in any multi-jurisdictional team.

The team we worked with from the very beginning were able to show the deepest involvement in our matters with the thorough study and knowledge of all the details that allows them to represent our interests at the highest level.

Clemens Trauttenberg is handling the cases strategically and with foresight. 

Key clients

Petro Welt Technologies AG

Airbus Defence and Space GmbH

National Bank Trust

Work highlights

  • Representing National Bank Trust in a claim against an Austrian financial institution arising from fiduciary lending transactions entered into in 2011 and 2013.

Baker McKenzie • Diwok Hermann Petsche Rechtsanwälte LLP & Co KG

Baker McKenzie • Diwok Hermann Petsche Rechtsanwälte LLP & Co KG's white-collar crime practice handles the implementation and development of compliance management systems, and also assists with internal investigations and acts as defence counsel. Acting for corporations, executives and directors, Georg Krakow and 'fantastic strategist' Alexander Petsche jointly lead the team.

Practice head(s):

Georg Krakow; Alexander Petsche

Testimonials

‘Perfect combination of expertise in legal & compliance topics.’

Legal skills specifically in matters of compliance above the average.

Excellence, experience, hands-on-mentality and feeling for the practical needs of an in-house counsel.

Alexander Petsche is a fantastic strategist and a real leader you would like to have representing you in bet-the-company situations.

Alexander Petsche – very experienced, good presenter, fair cost approach, very supportive.

Alexander Petsche – excellent and experienced as well as reachable, pragmatic approach and open communication.

Binder Grösswang

Praised for its 'great expertise and experience', Binder Grösswang's white-collar crime group sits within the firm's dispute resolution department and is well-equipped to handle embezzlement and fraud cases relating to banking, finance and capital markets issues for Austrian and foreign banks and international companies. The team, led by Stefan Albiez, also represents victims in criminal cases, and assists clients with compliance matters. Christian Klausegger is also a key name to note.

Practice head(s):

Stefan Albiez

Testimonials

We highly appreciate the very high quality of legal advice on capital market issues as well as the proceedings in front of court and the public prosecutor. They are very reliable, always on time and we are satisfied they are proper value for money.

For dispute resolution Binder Grösswang has exceptional know-how in difficult situations.

Stefan Albiez has a broad and in-depth knowledge on one side and on the other side a practical approach. Without doubt he is smart and an excellent strategic planner.

Stefan Albiez is a very smart negotiator, a very good lawyer and always keeps the best for his client in mind. With Mag. Thomas Hartl he has a perfect team, working on the same high level and always smart with judges, authorities and other lawyers.

Stefan Albiez has the talent to analyse the most complex matters in-depth and convince people with a calm and professional manner.

Key clients

ERSTE Bank Group

Immoconsult

Immigon portfolio abbau ag

Microtec Group

Work highlights

  • Represented one of Austria’s largest group of banks in criminal proceedings concerning the insolvency of Alpine group.
  • Representing Immoconsult Group in claims against Sheik Al Jaber including criminal proceedings.
  • Handling the implementation of an anti-corruption and anti-embezzlement system for a client in the banking sector.

Brandl & Talos Rechtsanwälte GmbH

Christopher Schrank leads Brandl & Talos Rechtsanwälte GmbH's 'highly professional' white-collar crime practice group, which has experience defending companies in the construction and insurance sector, banks and managers accused of criminal activity. The team is also active in compliance mandates, advising corporate clients on preventive measures. Founding partner Thomas Talos is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Christopher Schrank

Testimonials

Their defence team can act not only in Austria, but also internationally, and fully apply their understanding of the procedural complexities and possible solutions. We also appreciate their “active defence” stance, where the BTP lawyers not only react to the unfolding events, but propose a strategy of active steps to drive a case in the right direction. When the going gets though, these lawyers get going, as hard and as far as it takes.

They are competent defence lawyers, with considerable knowledge of the corporate and capital markets law, extensive experience working with large Austrian banks, and a hands-on understanding of the AML rules and its currently changing legal framework. The turnaround was fast, and results undeniably positive.

These lawyers know and understand business as much as they do law, and act to address the economic, capital markets, tax as well as corporate aspects of the case. It is rare to find this business understanding, combined with a broad-reaching expertise in capital markets law, corporate law, and criminal law, all at an equally high level. The team is very hard-working, and I was impressed by their ability to work fast and precisely despite the size of the case and the amount of information.

What impressed me most about Brandl & Talos is their thorough knowledge of and experience in every aspect of economic law, whether it is civil or criminal law. Especially our two advising lawyers, Christopher Schrank and Alexander Stücklberger, proved this in an excellent manner, when administering our case. I think, that their main strength is the combination of their profound knowledge with an excellent network of connections to the officials, prosecutors, other lawyers, universities and other important sources, which enabled them to get important information, which other lawyers won’t be able to get.

Christopher Schrank’s professional manner inspires a lot of confidence. And it is backed by practice: he has the experience to deal with the case all the way through, whatever new challenge comes around the corner. He and his team provide excellent defence, both in court and behind the lines (lobbying, networking, etc). They seem to navigate the case file really well and are always prepared and on point. Challenging new case developments only mean that they come up with a new action plan, and this kind of service is part experience, part preparedness and case knowledge, and part pure intellectual ability and talent.

Christopher inspires trust and is very, very thorough. He is renowned as a business defence lawyer in Austria, but has proven equally strong when called upon to act internationally. He excels in his niche area of the criminal defence of business executives, by being well-versed in both criminal procedures and corporate law matters. We have a very clear line of communication with Christopher, as he understands business circumstances really well, and is equally able to explain the intricacies of his defence strategy to us.

Christopher Schrank is a specialist and an expert criminal defence lawyer, with a special focus on corporate and capital markets law. He has extensive experience with investor fraud cases and and knows how to handle extremely large claims. For me, because of the extremely large economic and reputational value of this case, I needed someone like Christopher, with the right type of experience with investment, corporate law, fraud allegations and criminal defence. He is very precise and thorough, and brings a wealth of experience that is worth every penny.

Key clients

Former director of ALPINE Holding GmbH

Former Chief Executive Officer of Novomatic AG

STRABAG

Former board members of bwin AG

Raiffeisen Bank International AG

Lyoness Europe AG

Work highlights

  • Successfully defending a former CEO of a major Austrian construction company against alleged violations of the Austrian Stock Exchange Act and Criminal Code.
  • Successfully defended a former CEO of a major international gaming company, who was accused of bribing a member of the Austrian Parliament. The allegations were part of a larger blackmail strategy conducted by a former business partner.
  • Defending seven leading employees of Strabag, Austria’s biggest construction company, against allegations of anti-competitive agreements in procurement procedures.

DLA Piper Weiss-Tessbach

Under the joint leadership of Thomas Kralik and Claudine Vartian, DLA Piper Weiss-Tessbach's white-collar crime team represents financial institutions, companies and high-profile individuals in sensitive criminal disputes. Other work includes advising on crime prevention and compliance matters, in-house investigations, tax issues and fiscal criminal mandates.

Practice head(s):

Thomas Kralik; Claudine Vartian

Key clients

Peter Westenthaler

Work highlights

  • Represented former politician Peter Westenthaler in a complex criminal process, which ended with a complete acquittal.

KOLLMANN, WOLM RECHTSANWÄLTE

Specialist criminal law boutique KOLLMANN, WOLM RECHTSANWÄLTE focuses on the white-collar crime space, with expertise encompassing the defence of individuals, the representation of companies during investigative proceedings and advising companies with respect to the implementation of compliance programmes. Name partners Lukas Kollmann and Philipp Wolm jointly lead the practice.

Practice head(s):

Lukas Kollmann; Philipp Wolm

Testimonials

Huge practical experience in fighting cases against prosecutors and law enforcement. Very proactive steering of the case and thinking well ahead of potential future developments.

Work highlights

  • Defending an accused CFO in the ”BUWOG-Proceeding”, regarding the circumstances surrounding the privatisation of federal apartments in Austria.
  • Representing entrepreneurs navigating the legally delicate business of legitimate raw material hemp production.
  • Defending individuals accused of major narcotics trading – allegations include the formation of a secret corporate structure.

petsche pollak attorneys at law

'Extremely dedicated' boutique petsche pollak attorneys at law handles the defence of companies and high-profile individuals, investigations and white-collar crime matters with a cross-border element as well as issues connected to commercial disputes including shareholder disputes and corporate litigation. 'Perceptive tactician and strong litigator' Simone Petsche-Demmel and Andreas Pollak  jointly lead the practice.

Practice head(s):

Simone Petsche-Demmel; Andreas Pollak

Testimonials

Good insight into how public prosecutors work and deal with matters, since one of the partners was a public prosecutor before.

The firm is extremely dedicated, very responsive, technically excellent and renders hands-on advice, even in complex situations.

The team has built up deep competence in the disputes in the construction and industrial sector, especially where questions of public procurement are involved. In addition to that, we would like to praise their procedural know-how, a strong ability to create litigation and defence strategies and carry these through in court and in negotiations. The firm demonstrates a level of legal service that comes only from an invaluable combination of brilliant minds and extensive practical experience.

The lawyers in petsche pollak’s white collar crime team are very experienced and have a profound knowledge of the Criminal laws. Although petsche pollak is a rather small firm, they come up against the big firms as they are able to structure and organise big cases and handle large amounts of information.

This team is unique due to its particular composition having Andreas Pollak, with a vast amount of enforcement experience due to his time as a judge and Simone Petsche-Pollak, a very experienced and convincing partner in this area.

Simone Petsche-Demmel is a down-to-earth, perceptive tactician and strong litigator. Andreas Pollak, who formerly worked at the PPO, delivers valuable insights from the authorities perspective. Perfect match!

Simone Petsche-Demmel is a very smart and strong litigator and from a personal perspective, very responsive and very pleasant to work with.

Simone Petsche-Demmel is absolutely brilliant and remarkable in terms of knowledge and experience. She is also an absolutely brilliant team player,  and is both communicative and responsive. From my perspective, she is second to none and I very much like working with her and I know there is a good reason why she is on many of the absolutely high-profile cases in Austria. I am sure the partner individuals are also the reason for the brilliant team of associates they have working with them.

Key clients

STRABAG AG

PHH Rechtsanwälte

Praised for its 'excellent knowledge of law and judicature', PHH Rechtsanwälte is well-versed in defending companies, financial institutions and individuals. Mathias Preuschl leads the team, which also assists clients with internal investigations and provides comprehensive court-case public relations advice. Stefan Prochaska also contributes to the practice.

Practice head(s):

Martin Preuschl

Testimonials

The members of the team are responsive. They easily understand the needs and propose alternative ways to solve a problem.

Key strength is the personal care of the issues of the customer connected with high competence.

Efficient and predictive job, assertive and friendly at the same time.

Creative work with excellent knowledge of law and judicature as well as efficient client work.

Martin Preuschl has a fast and brilliant understanding of a very complex and far reaching international case.

Mathias Preuschl – very thorough and knowledgeable, handles complex cases with excellence as well as great appearance in Court.

Key clients

Mag. Herbert Untersteiner

Frank Petmecky

Arthur Yemelyanov and Svitlana Yemelyanov

Dr. Herbert Kacher

Dr. Michael Gnant

Work highlights

  • Representing the former managing director of Odelga Med, who had a leading role in the tender process for a Romanian hospital project financed through the Worldbank, in a case concerning breach of trust and bribery allegations.
  • Representing Frank Petmecky, an international business man, against accusations of being involved in bribery and corruption relating to the biggest arms deal in the history of the Federal Republic of Austria.
  • Represented Arthur Yemelyanov, a judge at the Supreme Court for Commerce in Kiev, and his ex-wife, Svitlana Yemelyanova, in criminal proceedings relating to allegations of money laundering in Liechtenstein and Austria.

Schoenherr (Schönherr Rechtsanwälte)

Schoenherr (Schönherr Rechtsanwälte) primarily focuses on criminal defence work, representing companies and individuals accused of fraud, money laundering and breach of trust. Internal investigations and compliance are also areas where the team excels. Wolfgang Höller leads the department, which fields counsel Klara Kiehl, who assists companies with preventing and detecting criminal behaviour.

Practice head(s):

Wolfgang Höller

Testimonials

Schoenherr is the go to firm for advice on white collar matters. Everyone I have worked with at the firm is highly responsive and professional. The working relationship is very good. 

Outstanding commitment, really smart people, fun to work with.

Wolfgang Höller and Klara Kiehl combine sophisticated legal expertise with practical advice. They keep the full picture in mind and have the relations to local authorities. Very good and professional working relationship.

Hard working partners who are really involved, especially negotiation specialist Wolfgang Höller.

Work highlights

  • Representing and advising a major multinational company in connection with a Diesel scandal.
  • Advising, representing and defending national and international companies and government bodies in connection with criminal compliance and white collar crime matters.
  • Representing a major multinational retailer in a detected large-scale tax fraud.

SOYER KIER STUEFER

SOYER KIER STUEFER is adept at handling a wide range criminal defence work before domestic and international courts including criminal appeal proceedings, corporate crime matters and financial criminal law. Richard Soyer and Roland Kier are the main points of contact.

Practice head(s):

Richard Soyer; Roland Kier

wkk law

wkk law is well-versed in handling traditional criminal defence work across all areas of criminal law including corruption and financial criminal proceedings. The firm also represents companies and individuals as private parties joining criminal proceedings as civil claimants. Norbert Wess is the main point of contact.

Practice head(s):

Norbert Wess