Fraud and white-collar crime in Belgium

Allen & Overy LLP

Allen & Overy LLP‘s specialist white-collar criminal team represents clients in criminal proceedings and investigations, both internal and external, as well as advising on compliance programmes and risk management. Areas of focus include money-laundering, corruption, cybercrime, and tax fraud, with clients in key sectors including pharma, financial services, and energy. Practice head Joost Everaert has extensive trial experience, regularly representing clients in high-level criminal cases before Belgian courts. Senior associate Camille Leroy is praised as an ‘excellent case manager‘. Nanyi Kaluma left the firm.

Practice head(s):

Joost Everaert

Other key lawyers:

Camille Leroy; Thomas Declerck

Testimonials

‘The practice is capable of handling very large and complex cases. They cooperate very well and have the most advanced technology. Client communication is a real plus.’

Camille Leroy is an associate to be watched. She is an excellent case manager.’

‘Allen & Overy are widely recognised for their considerable expertise in handling a range of criminal cases, including sporting fraud and cyber cybercrime.’

‘The team provides very solid and timely advice in white collar matters. They are very responsive, write comprehensive reports and have resources for bigger matters as well as the ability to conduct sophisticated e-mail review on various systems.’

‘Joost Everaert is very experienced and provides clear and strategically clever advice in litigation and white-collar crime matters.

Camille Leroy is a smart and hardworking senior associate.

Stibbe

Stibbe has a successful record in corporate crime, money-laundering, corruption, and all types of fraud cases, with a strong focus on litigation and out-of-court settlements and a specialism in anti-money laundering proceedings. Clients include businesses, directors, and individuals. The team works in tandem with the firm’s practice area specialists, bringing bespoke expertise to sector-specific cases. Hans Van Bavel heads up the team, and is a ‘top notch‘ name in corporate criminal law, regularly appearing before the Belgian Supreme Court. Counsel Elisabeth Baeyens focuses on procedural and advisory work. David Verwaerde, who was promoted to counsel in January 2022, specialises in white-collar crime and money laundering cases.

Practice head(s):

Hans Van Bavel

Other key lawyers:

Elisabeth Baeyens; David Verwaerde

Testimonials

‘Solid technical knowledge of criminal law.’

‘Always a sure and secure stop, without a doubt the team / colleagues I love to work with in any matter. Exceptional technical skills combined with solid case management, strategic views and in general utmost easy to work with.’

‘Hans Van Bavel is top notch. No discussion about it and no other term would do him right.’

Key clients

Bank Degroof Petercam

CBC Banque

Stephan Colle and Ann De Clerck (Beaulieu Group of Companies)

Fortis

FSMA

KBC

KBVB (Royal Belgian Football Association)

Microsoft

Neremat

Perrigo

PostNL

Proximus

Suez

Transport Arendonk

Work highlights

  • Representing Transport Arendonk in an inquiry conducted by the investigating judge in Antwerp into illegal employment practices labelled by the federal prosecutor as human trafficking.
  • Representing two individuals in securing a settlement in a case where the two were prosecuted for tax fraud, money laundering, forgery and the use of forged documents.
  • Representing the former president of the board of directors of Fortis Holdings in a judicial inquiry opened by the investigating judge in Brussels, which led to charges of forgery and market manipulation.

Arcas Law

Independent boutique firm Arcas Law specialises in litigation, representing a broad range of clients, from SMEs and individuals through to mulitnationals, in white-collar crime and fraud cases against corporations and governments. The team represents clients up to the Belgian Court of Cassation, in international proceedings, and in complex cross-border arbitration and mediation, and maintains relationships with international litigation practices at other firms. Standout cases include high-profile proceedings in the energy sector, as well as relating to the ongoing cum-ex trading scandal. Dirk Libotte leads the team alongside Joost Verlinden, with strong specialisms in company criminal law and both civil and criminal white-collar cases respectively.

Practice head(s):

Dirk Libotte; Joost Verlinden

Key clients

McCain

ABInbev

Work highlights

  • Representing a number of American investors in European stocks in a multi-jurisdictional criminal investigation into so-called “cum ex trading” or “dividend arbitrage”.
  • Represented a major shareholder and director of an international flooring company in reaching an historic out of court settlement in a criminal investigation on charges of money laundering and forgery.

DLA Piper

DLA Piper represents corporate clients in a broad range of white-collar crime cases, including financial fraud, gambling, bribery, money laundering, and tax fraud proceedings. Particular areas of expertise include financial fraud and insolvency, with practice head Joris De Vos and the experienced Ilse Van de Mierop specialising in work for distressed companies concerning bankruptcies and financial misconduct cases, alongside environmental fraud, an area of strength for Bob Martens. The team litigates before all levels of Belgian courts as well as at EU level, and is adept at representing clients in cross-border proceedings.

Practice head(s):

Joris De Vos

Other key lawyers:

Ilse Van de Mierop; Bob Martens

Key clients

Sabena

NMBS/SNCB

OVS Home

Vlaamse Radio- en Televisieomroeporganisatie (VRT) (Flemish Public Broadcasting Company)

NV Belfius Bank

NV Koninklijke Voetbalvereniging Oostende

NV Arlimo

Indufin

Lidl

Metallo Chimique

Work highlights

  • Representing Sabena in its €2bn litigation based on director’s liability and alleged criminal infractions, in order to claim compensation for the creditors.
  • Represented NMBS as the victim in a fraud case.
  • Represented NV Koninklijke Voetbalvereniging Oostende in several investigations.

Eubelius

Eubelius handles a variety of cases, including bribery, money laundering, financial fraud, and corporate criminal matters, and also works with corporate clients on due diligence and compliance programmes. Clients include individuals, multinational companies, and public institutions. The team is led by Tom Bauwens, an ‘excellent and driven‘ litigator with a successful record in criminal defence proceedings, with senior associate Monica Rodriguez also a key name for white-collar criminal law matters.

Practice head(s):

Tom Bauwens

Other key lawyers:

Monica Rodriguez

Testimonials

‘Eubelius is an excellent high-level law firm. I am particularly familiar with their criminal enforcement and compliance department and I am very pleased with my cooperation with this office. Easily accessible, good communication and a good knowledge of criminal law combined with strategic thinking. My choice in Belgium.’

‘I got to know Tom Bauwens as an excellent and driven lawyer with a thorough knowledge of criminal law and a good strategic insight. A reliable partner in cooperation.’

‘Tom Bauwens is a great litigator with very good procedural insights and strategies.’

Key clients

Euroclear

Etex

Arnaud (Mogi) Bayat

Former CEO of an international industrial plant

Former CEO of a Belgian branch of an international bank

Former ambassador, director of foreign companies

VREG

Board members of a (major) freight carrier

Chair of the Board of Directors of a major integrated mining and metals business

Operations manager of a major integrated mining and metals business

Matexi

NMBS

bpost

Stephex

Work highlights

  • Advising Euroclear on a stop and freeze order on its inter-company accounts on suspicion of money laundering of assets belonging to the Gaddafi regime.
  • Representing the lawyer of an international industrial group in defence proceedings with the beneficiary owners of the group concerning organising a scheme of money laundering and tax fraud.
  • Representing the Chair of the Board of Directors of a major integrated mining and metals business in an ongoing judicial investigation and an investigation by the FSMA.

Everest

Everest is a specialist fraud and white-collar criminal law firm, representing a wide range of banks, companies, and international organisations in criminal proceedings, as well as advising on fraud prevention and compliance policies. A particular area of strength is white-collar crime in sport, with senior associate Mathieu Baert an academic authority on the subject, and a regular counsel to international sports organisations in criminal proceedings. Practice head Stijn De Meulenaer is an experienced practitioner across the full range of fraud and corporate criminal issues, encompassing litigation and advisory work.

Practice head(s):

Stijn De Meulenaer

Other key lawyers:

Mathieu Baert

Testimonials

Stijn De Meulenaer is hands-on and knowledgeable.

Stijn De Meulenaer has vast experience in fraud and white-collar related files. I particularly appreciate his proactive approach.

Stijn De Meulenaer is to the point, efficient and has a good understanding of what the issues are.

Key clients

Bank J.Van Breda & C°

Audit Vlaanderen

Vlaamse Interuniversitaire Raad

Province of Antwerp

Roj / Sterk Productions

Work highlights

  • Advised one of Belgium’s major banks and its fraud investigations team on the development and implementation of a new anti-fraud policy and acted for the bank as a civil party in several criminal proceedings.
  • Representing a shareholder representation company in a legal procedure for clients of Arco against the Belgian Government, Belfius, the Arco-companies and ex-directors.
  • Representing one of the world’s major sports federations as a civil party in an international match-fixing case involving several professional athletes.

HFW

HFW represents corporate and individual clients in a variety of sectors in corporate fraud, money-laundering, cyber-crime, tax fraud, corruption, social fraud, and other white-collar criminal proceedings. The firm acts across the life-cycle of proceedings, including investigations and negotiations with authorities, through to criminal trial proceedings, and leverages its international platform to work effectively in cross-border proceedings, and for foreign clients. Emmanuel Roger France heads up the team, representing clients in litigation and providing risk advisory support, with sector focuses including payment services, banking, telecoms, and healthcare. Senior associate An Schurmans is a specialist in criminal business law and asset recovery.

Practice head(s):

Emmanuel Roger France

Other key lawyers:

An Schurmans

Testimonials

‘Highly qualified lawyers.’

Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick

Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick has a notable focus on anti-money laundering and environmental infringement litigation, its litigators collaborating regularly with regulatory experts in its wider practice teams. Other areas of strength for the firm include criminal tax litigation and employment disputes, with clients including major Belgian and multinational companies, SMEs, and high net-worth individuals, both victims and alleged offenders. The practice is led by Magda Vandebotermet , who combines specific white-collar expertise with work on broad criminal issues across tax, employment, and environmental law. Associate Margot Vandebeek is a specialist in criminal corporate cases.

Practice head(s):

Magda Vandebotermet

Other key lawyers:

Margot Vandebeek

Work highlights

  • Representing a multinational company involved as suspect in a criminal investigation concerning infringements to waste legislation.
  • Representing a client involved as a suspect in a criminal case concerning among others misuse of corporate assets and breach of trust.
  • Representing a worldwide car industry client in filing a complaint relating to an unlawful request from a special police unit in order to obtain permanent access to data filed in the memory of the cars.

Lydian

Lydian represents individuals and businesses in criminal cases and investigations, with particular focuses on employee fraud, contractual fraud, and most notably insurance fraud - the firm represents a number of insurance sector clients in complex insurance and reinsurance disputes. The team handles a wide range of Belgian-domiciled cases, and is also regularly referred international mandates by global firms. The practice is led by insurance sector specialist Hugo Keulers, Yves Lenders, who handles director liability and criminal contractual fraud cases, and Jan Hofkens, who focuses on employee fraud and privacy cases.

Monard Law

Monard Law has a broad offering across litigation and advisory work relating to fraud and white-collar crime cases, handling investigations, negotiations with authorities, and criminal proceedings for tax fraud, anti-money laundering, corruption, and customs and duties issues. Practice head Christiaan Barbier has expertise in high-level litigation and advisory work, representing directors and executives of major companies accused of malfeasance, while Tom Messiaen is noted for his role in social criminal cases, including modern slavery and cases brought by the families of industrial accidents victims. Frédéric Lettany represents clients in international (primarily EU and US-based) bribery and tax proceedings.

Practice head(s):

Christiaan Barbier

Deloitte

Deloitte leverages its strength in tax controversy work, representing clients in a number of high-value tax fraud proceedings, including criminal cases, as well as tax audits, negotiations with regulatory authorities, and litigating before domestic and European courts. The practice combines litigation and risk management expertise alongside strong tax knowledge, and is led by Jürgen Egger, Annick Visschers and Johan Speecke.

Key clients

Former CFO of Fortis Bank

Hirsch & Vanhaelst

Hirsch & Vanhaelst has a strong record in criminal defence proceedings, representing individual defendants, primarily executives and company directors in an array of white-collar proceedings, most notably tax fraud cases. The firm regularly handles cross-border and multi-jurisdictional proceedings, and litigates up to EU level as well as advising on strategies for avoiding criminal prosecution during investigations. The team is led by specialist white-collar crime and international criminal law practitioner Michèle Hirsch.

Practice head(s):

Michèle Hirsch

Other key lawyers:

Sophie Colmant

Testimonials

Michèle Hirsch stands out as a go to person for criminal matters in Belgium. Her advice is always sharp and to the point.’

The team is very experienced in handling fraud cases, particularly cases with cross-border aspects.

Sophie Colmant is very responsive. She handles complex and lengthy investigations well.

Very responsive.

Strelia

Strelia represents corporates, financial institutions, and individuals as victims and defendants in fraud and white-collar crime cases, with a particular focus on distressed and insolvent companies. Related areas of expertise include corporate fraud and embezzlement, market abuse, and insider trading. The practice is led by Sébastien Ryelandt, who has a strong record in banking litigation and liability proceedings, alongside a wide range of white-collar criminal cases.

Practice head(s):

Sébastien Ryelandt

Testimonials

Sébastien Ryelandt is an excellent practitioner.

The team is extremely competent and efficient.

Key clients

Liège Airport

Fortis Board

Work highlights

  • Represented Liège Airport in a highly publicised forensic investigation about potential irregularities by members of the management, which led to the dismissal of the CEO and to various civil and criminal proceedings.

Verhaegen Walravens

Verhaegen Walravens handles financial crime and white-collar proceedings on behalf of domestic and international clients, including directors of businesses and international companies. The firm benefits from regular references from conflicted international firms, and is able to act against financial services clients. Other client sector focuses for the firm include marketing, technology, and construction. Philip Walravens heads up the team, and is an experienced litigator at domestic and EU level.

Practice head(s):

Philip Walravens

Other key lawyers:

Jacques Verhaegen

Testimonials

‘Philip Walravens comes highly recommended. Jacques Verhaegen is also someone who knows his stuff.’

Pragmatic lawyers.

Work highlights

  • Representing a German company in proceedings before the Belgian Constitutional Court, in connection with the validity of Belgian criminal legislation in customs matters.
  • Represented the relative of a director of a listed company in an investigation by the Belgian Financial Services Authority (FSMA) on allegations of insider dealing by the client.