Cerha Hempel’s white-collar crime department is in high demand for solving complex legal issues at the intersection of public, criminal, economic, and EU law. Public and private clients, including prominent national and international companies, financial institutions and individuals, value its expertise leading to regular mandates with cross-border elements in high-profile political matters, particularly in the CEE region; these often include allegations of fraud, breach of trust, embezzlement, and bid rigging. Key contacts include esteemed specialist Peter Lewisch; internal investigations specialist Hans Kristoferitsch; Stefan Huber, who specialises in crime and trade law matters; and Holger Bielesz, who typically acts in corporate criminal liability matters.
Dispute resolution: white-collar crime (including fraud) in Austria
Peter Lewisch; Hans Kristoferitsch; Stefan Huber
Other key lawyers:
‘There is no other white-collar crime team in the Austrian market offering the same range of capabilities and qualities, from academic input to high-class white-collar crime litigation and in-depth knowledge not only of criminal law, but also of other relevant fields of law.’
‘The lawyers are well respected by the prosecution, the courts and other lawyers. They are skilful and easily accessible. When it comes to billing, their invoices are always transparent and fair.’
‘Peter Lewisch is maybe the most prominent Austrian white-collar crime lawyer, and rightly so! His knowledge, but also his legal skills as well as his handling of prosecutors is unparalleled.’
‘Hans Kristoferitsch is very diligent and has broad knowledge not only in criminal law, but also in administrative and data protection law. Moreover, he literally knows the whole Austrian legal community.’
‘Stefan Huber has maybe the shortest turn-around times I have seen with a lawyer and is always available. He is a strategic thinker with in-depth criminal law knowledge.’
‘The teams renders hands-on support that is relevant for the business and does not “over-legalise”. There is no need to translate the advice to decision makers from the business.’
‘Hans Kristoferitsch is the go-to person for any difficult questions when it comes to white-collar crime.’
Gas Connect Austria GmbH
GATX Rail Austria GmbH
WIEN ENERGIE GmbH
- Successfully represented Gas Connect in a high-profile corporate criminal trial for alleged environmental crimes, leading to a full acquittal of the client and its staff.
- Advising managers of GATX Austria as well as the company (a subsidiary of the NYSE-listed GATX corporation) in criminal proceedings with regard to charges of negligent killing in the so-called Viareggio trial (relating to a railway disaster causing 38 casualties).
- Representing high-ranking public officials in regard to questioning by a parliamentary investigation committee.
KOLLMANN, WOLM RECHTSANWÄLTE
White-collar crime boutique KOLLMANN, WOLM RECHTSANWÄLTE stands out for its strong track record of providing criminal defence to high-profile individuals at the intersection of commercial, corporate, financial and criminal law. The team is headed by esteemed criminal defence specialists Lukas Kollmann and Philipp Wolm, who frequently appear before domestic and foreign courts. Highly valued by its clients, the practice regularly represents companies from a wide range of industries facing allegations of embezzlement, corruption, fraud, bribery, and breach of trust, and advises on crime prevention compliance measures and internal investigations.
Lukas Kollmann; Philipp Wolm
Other key lawyers:
Simone Marxer; Noah McElheney
‘Very high professional standards.’
‘Lukas Kollmann is the best defense lawyer in Austria.’
‘Kollman Wolm is a leading boutique for trial cases with huge experience and proactive thinking, taking into account repercussions of defense strategy in other area of laws and on business.’
Austrian Research and Development Company (“FFG”)
- Defending the CFO in the BUWOG proceedings pertaining to the circumstances surrounding the privatisation of federal apartments in Austria.
- Defending two individuals – one of whom is considered the main suspect – in a major narcotics case.
- Representing an Austrian soccer star in a criminal case concerning drug distribution.
WKK Law - Wess Kux Kispert & Eckert Rechtsanwalts GmbH
WKK Law - Wess Kux Kispert & Eckert Rechtsanwalts GmbH has a stellar reputation as a key player in white-collar criminal matters in Austria. Frequently sought after for high-profile matters, the practice is headed by dual-qualified Felix Ruhmannseder, who specialises in advising national and international companies on risk and compliance management systems and internal investigations, as well as representing clients in multi-jurisdictional anti-corruption and fraud matters. Norbert Wess is another key contact.
Other key lawyers:
‘WKK LAW most certainly ranks amongst the finest and best reputed white-collar crime firms in Austria. All of its lawyers are experts in their fields. A clear bonus is their ability to represent in Germany as well because it enormously facilitates the cooperation as there is no need to explain the German justice system to them.’
‘Very precise legal advice. Top knowledge about practice of proceedings.’
‘Felix Ruhmannseder is always on top of the most recent developments in Austria as well as in Germany. He is a very quick thinker and a strong fighter for his clients. On top of that he is also a very agreeable person whom it is a pleasure to work.’
- Defending Karl Heinz Grasser, former minister of finance in Austria, in the BUWOG proceedings.
Wolf Theiss Rechtsanwälte GmbH & Co KG
Wolf Theiss Rechtsanwälte GmbH & Co KG’ white-collar crime department, headed by Clemens Trauttenberg, combines its criminal and civil law expertise to provide strategic advice and litigation to individuals and corporations in highly sensitive matters. Regular mandates spanning across various jurisdictions include asset recovery, allegations of fraud, money laundering, cybercrime, fiscal criminal matters, complex criminal defence and internal investigations. The asset recovery subgroup, headed up by Valerie Hohenberg, has recently seen an increase in mandates. With expertise in advising corporations as victims of criminal conduct, Nikolaus Loudon was named partner in September 2022.
Other key lawyers:
Valerie Hohenberg; Nikolaus Loudon
‘Strong team for defence in white-collar-crime cases.’
‘Clemens Trauttenberg, Nikolaus Loudon and Valerie Hohenberg are extremely good in stategic legal reasoning and specialiced in complex cases.’
- Successfully represented a real estate investor in criminal proceedings commencing after several years of investigative proceedings.
Binder Grösswang represents a range of high-profile clients, including corporations, financial institutions and public sector bodies, in national and cross-border white-collar crime matters. The team advises on matters ranging from risk and compliance management to internal and external investigations, and defends clients against allegations of fraud, embezzlement, bribery, and industrial espionage. Practice head Stefan Albiez is noted for his expertise in litigating parallel civil commercial and criminal matters.
Other key lawyers:
Christian Klausegger; Thomas Hartl
‘What makes the practice unique is the perfect interplay of professional competence with the understanding of what clients need, responsiveness coupled with the desire to bring out the best for the client, outstanding knowledge of current developments in the body of law and a sense of upcoming developments, which gives the client a secure feeling of being perfectly prepared for the future.’
‘Stefan Albiez is an absolute specialist in the field of white-collar crime and anti-corruption law. Perfect team spirit with strong collegiality, but always focussed on the best representation and the client’s protection. Creativity to seek ways of defense not yet trodden and yet always successful.’
‘Very responsive, with comprehensive assessments of the cases at hand by sufficiently identifying the risks associated with the matter and showing pragmatic solutions and alternatives.’
‘Stefan Albiez is very deliberate and calm, acts in an unagitated manner and conveys security following a profound assessment of the factual and legal situation; he communicates openly and transparently. He consequently implements the strategy presented to and developed with the customer and achieves good results. Great expectation management.’
Nokia Solutions and Networks Österreich GmbH
SIG-Seeliegenschaftengesellschaft Kärnten Verwaltungs GmbH (Province of Carinthia)
- Defending Oberalp Group, as international lead counsel, in criminal proceedings.
- Representing Nokia Solutions and Networks Österreich in multi-level criminal investigations.
- Represented legal entities of the Province of Carinthia in several criminal and civil proceedings.
BRANDL TALOS Attorneys at law
The combination of capital markets and white-collar crime expertise makes BRANDL TALOS Attorneys at law a sought-after advisor for individuals, banks and corporations facing allegations of criminal liability pertaining to embezzlement, bribery, breach of trust, and tax evasion. Together with Alexander Stücklberger, who specialises in complex criminal defence and asset recovery cases with a cross-border element, practice head Christopher Schrank represents clients from a wide range of sectors including entertainment, banking and investment, renewable energy, construction, pharmaceuticals, and real estate. Schrank also assists clients with regulatory compliance to prevent behavioural and business practices which could trigger criminal prosecution.
Other key lawyers:
Alexander Stücklberger; Klaus Winhofer
‘Christopher Schrank is a highly experienced lawyer who stands out due to his networked thinking and precisely formulated pleadings.’
‘Alexander Stücklberger is able to get to the heart of the crucial issues very quickly, even in very extensive files.’
‘They impress with their constant availability and outstanding client-oriented mindset. In addition, we appreciate the comprehensive expertise and their – if needed – worldwide network.’
‘Christopher Schrank impresses with his excellent communictation skills and his profound knowledge in connection with various legal matters. He is an excellent negotiator and has an incredibly fast response time.’
‘Christopher Schrank is a leading lawyer for criminal law and forensic investigations.’
‘Christopher Schrank is very intelligent, has always the whole picture in his view not only a single aspect.’
Kuratorium Wiener Pensionisten-Wohnhäuser
- Defending Professor Graf, owner of Novomatic, in criminal proceedings pertaining to alleged bribery of members of the Austrian cabinet so as to receive gaming licenses in Austria, as well as alleged tax evasion.
- Defending the former CEO of a large housing company against accusations of embezzlement in the Prosecutor’s Office for Economic Affairs and Corruption’s investigation into the withdrawal of the non-profit status of three formerly publicly-funded social housing companies.
- Conducting an internal investigation into a major Austrian subsidiary for alleged fraud, breach of trust and tax evasion, and enforcing the clients’ claims in the ensuing criminal proceedings.
DLA Piper Weiss-Tessbach Rechtsanwälte GmbH
DLA Piper Weiss-Tessbach Rechtsanwälte GmbH‘s white-collar crime practice offers its private and public clients assistance with highly sensitive and political matters, ranging from in-house investigations pertaining to cartel agreements; advice on fiscal criminal, tax and compliance matters; and defence for clients facing allegations of breach of trust, embezzlement, fraud, corruption, and money laundering. The team is headed by former public prosecutor Georg Krakow. Counsel Miriam Astl‘s practice showcases her corporate and capital markets law expertise, which intersects with her knowledge of white-collar crime.
Other key lawyers:
Claudine Vartian; Miriam Astl
‘Georg Krakow is one of the most distinguished experts in white-collar crime and compliance matters in Austria.’
‘Georg Krakow is an exceptionally creative and excellent lawyer!’
‘Profound knowledge, good understanding of customers’ needs.’
DORDA Rechtsanwälte GmbH
DORDA Rechtsanwälte GmbH‘s clients, including high-profile individuals and corporations accused of fraud, embezzlement, bribery, corruption, or tax evasion, benefit from its expertise in investigative, white-collar and financial crime proceedings. Florian Kremslehner co-heads the department with counsel Elias Schönborn; the latter brings in his expertise from the Public Prosecutor’s Office in criminal corruption law, economic crimes and whistleblowing matters, and frequently represents aggrieved parties in criminal proceedings who are asserting their civil claims. Other work includes advising clients on the avoidance of criminal law risks, producing codes of conduct, conducting staff training, and leading internal investigations.
Florian Kremslehner; Elias Schönborn
‘Outstanding market experience; strong connections to relevant players; ability to also work on forensic investigation and involve PR strategy.’
‘The DORDA team offers customers a high level of focus and care. There is never any feeling of being rushed. To a great extent, it is the opposite; every issue is thoroughly discussed, and even the most minor nuances are taken into account. It is evident that clarity is one of the top priorities, and it is something that is never compromised in any way – a characteristic that other firms frequently overlook.’
‘The professionals I had the opportunity to work with are exceptional in terms of their customer service and went above and beyond my expectations. Right from the beginning, there is a pleasant and friendly atmosphere.’
‘Elias Schönborn is able to assess the situation from a variety of perspectives and clearly outline all of the possible courses of action and options. He also sketches out all of the potential developments of events. In essence, it is stress free and easy to work with him, and the atmosphere that he cultivates is one that is replete with confidence and clarity.’
‘Elias Schönborn has outstanding skills as a lawyer. He has a deep understanding of the law and impressive strategic skills. He managed to end my case with a very positive outcome in a short time. I felt that I was in very good hands, both professionally and personally. I would highly recommend him as an attorney at any time.’
‘Elias Schönborn is very active and we enjoy the cooperation and the exchange with him. In addition to his work as a lawyer, he deals very intensively with the current and important issues of criminal law in Austria and very regularly publishes articles that are essential for questions that arise in practice.’
‘We have been working very well with the DORDA law firm for several years. We were always very well and professionally advised and represented. We are therefore always happy to recommend the law firm and it is and will remain our first point of contact for all legal questions.’
‘Elias Schönborn’s profound knowledge in criminal proceedings and criminal investigations was a great asset for us.’
- Representing Immofinanz, as a private party, in the BUWOG proceedings.
KNOETZL HAUGENEDER NETAL Rechtsanwaelte GmbH
KNOETZL HAUGENEDER NETAL Rechtsanwaelte GmbH is highly reputed for its services at the intersection of commercial litigation and white-collar crime. Department head Bettina Knoetzl - who focuses on business crime, investor protection, and corporate liability - stands out for her strong track record of work relating to fraud and asset tracing. The team also includes head of internal investigations Natascha Tunkel and Thomas Voppichler, who was named partner in 2022 and is experienced in advising on complex corporate, investment, fraud and professional liability matters. Frequently instructed on mandates pertaining to allegations of embezzlement, fraud, money laundering, breach of trust and price fixing, the team caters to a wide range of industries.
Other key lawyers:
Tim Pfister; Natascha Tunkel; Thomas Voppichler
‘The team consists of first-class experts for each specialist area. Direct internal communication is particularly helpful. This, and the interested and friendly demeanor of each individual brings the necessary calm and trust to the representation.’
‘In addition to his first-class expertise, Thomas Voppichler particularly impressed with his in-depth research into all peripheral areas, far beyond the expected and usual scope. And that in an incredibly short time and with great precision. Respect.’
‘Unique practice: they take the time to do a fundamental investigation – during the investigations Knoetzl was informing the client on a regular basis about the status of the preparation – Knoetzl was following not only a tactical approach but also thinking beyond strategically.’
‘Bettina Knoetzl has astounding breadth and depth of knowledge in all matters related to white-collar crime. Clients love her not just for her legal expertise but also her knowledge of the market.’
‘Bettina Knoetzl has an incredibly sharp mind and will never give up.’
‘Bettina Knoetzl is an excellent lawyer with extensive knowledge in dealing with complex white-collar cases with international teams.’
‘Very high skills and straight to the point. They know what is possible and what’s difficult and can guide you to take quick decisions about your case. Always find time to speak and help. Very friendly.’
‘Thomas Voppichler is very empathetic. In all discussionsm I felt very well understood and overseen. Best lawyer who has represented me until now.’
- Representing an international construction company with headquarters in Switzerland in a criminal investigation related to allegations of price fixing and fraud over a period of several years on hundreds of construction projects.
- Representing a global insurance group in criminal and civil claims arising from a fatal explosion at a gas plant that resulted in numerous injuries and millions of euros in damages.
petsche pollak attorneys at law
As a reputable dispute resolution boutique, petsche pollak attorneys at law acts for national and international corporations from the construction, pharmaceutical, trade, and finance industries. The team - headed by Simone Petsche-Demmel and Andreas Pollak - represents clients in a wide range of matters at the intersection of commercial litigation and crime. The team frequently defends clients facing allegations of breach of trust, embezzlement, fraud, corporate criminal liability, and cartel behaviour, and also assists with the setting up of whistleblowing systems.
Andreas Pollak; Simone Petsche-Demmel
Other key lawyers:
Christoph Trafoier; Vincent Vertneg
‘Andreas Pollak has a longstanding professional background as both an attorney-at-law and a public prosecutor. This fact together with also being an astute commercial and lawyer in the past makes him one of the best in class.’
‘The Petsche Pollak team is going from strength to strength, led by the talented and savvy Andreas Pollak and Simone Petsche-Demmel.’
‘Andreas Pollak is at the top of his game, dealing with strategic decisions on complex business crime matters with calm assurance.’
- Defending a large European construction company in a case of alleged illicit agreements restraining competition in connection with public tenders.
- Successfully defended a large Austrian real estate developer and investment company against allegations of bribes to political parties and a governor in the course of the acquisition of several real estate properties.
- Defending senior managers against the suspicion of corruption and fraud related to the public procurement of military equipment by the Austrian government.
Schoenherr (Schönherr Rechtsanwälte)
Schoenherr (Schönherr Rechtsanwälte)‘s white-collar crime practice handles highly sensitive matters, and regularly represents notable clients from the telecoms and finance sectors. Compliance and internal investigations expert Christoph Haid co-heads the practice with counsel Klara Kiehl, who has particular expertise in assisting companies with the prevention and detection of intra-company criminal behaviour, and defending them in investigations and criminal proceedings.
Klara Kiehl; Christoph Haid
‘The team is highly competent and very responsive.’
‘Klara Kiehl is an extraordinary lawyer with very high level of legal competence in white-collar crime but also in other legal areas. She is able to quickly grasp complex situations and identify targeted solutions and also to explain this in a simple and understandable way.’
‘The team is young and motivated. They expertly describe the various options for the client with a clear recommendation for further action.’
‘The team is a perfect service provider and very professional.’
‘Klara Kiehl is a lawyer dedicated to her work and her clients. She is a good listener and very well organised.’
- Representing a number of Austrian industrial and utility companies in civil and criminal claims arising out of the construction cartel case.