Internal investigations in Germany
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer fields a renowned global investigations practice, which cooperates closely among practice groups and within the firm's network. The team is particularly often instructed for large-scale investigations such as VW's emission scandal investigation. Norbert Nolte heads the practice, which also includes Simone Kämpfer and counsel Daniel Travers, who joined from Krause & Kollegen in 2018; both add strong white-collar crime expertise to the team. Marius Berenbrok is another key contact. Thomas Helck joined White & Case LLP in March 2019.
Due to its industry focus approach, Hogan Lovells International LLP offers broad expertise in the automotive and mobility, life sciences and healthcare as well as technology, media and telecommunication sectors. Based on the internationality of the firm, the practice is particularly well equipped to advise on cross-border internal investigations, for which the team is frequently instructed. Sebastian Lach heads the team and is especially adept in assisting with corruption, fraud and embezzlement matters. Désirée Maier combines in-house investigation and white-collar crime expertise, which is also counsel Dorina Bruns' main focus.
‘Hogan Lovells is technically perfect and its advice is solution- and client-oriented. The fast response times are impressive. Also very helpful for globally operating corporations is the global network of the firm.‘
‘The team is superbly connected and meticulous without being pedantic; the team stays on top of things also under pressure and handles matters outstandingly.‘
‘The technically and personally outstanding Sebastian Lach stands out for his utter commitment. He navigates clients through the toughest situations and thereby manages to rapidly win the directors’ trust.‘
‘Désirée Maier is exceedingly competent in this area.‘
Clifford Chance is a popular choice for cross-border internal investigations, for which the team cooperates both across practice groups as well as offices. The group, which is particularly often instructed by industrial corporations and financial institutions, is composed of various lawyers with different focus points: Heiner Hugger has an excellent reputation for his white-collar crime expertise and is especially experienced in dealing with authorities; Peter Dieners is an expert in health sector-related matters and jointly heads the group with Hugger, which also includes Ines Keitel, who is well versed in employment law and data protection, as well as counsel Julia Baedorff. Criminal lawyer David Pasewaldt made partner.
Heiner Hugger; Peter Dieners
- Conduct of an internal investigation for a pharmaceutical company concerning activities of its Russian subsidiary company.
- Conduct of an internal investigation at the German subsidiary company of an international industrial group concerning allegations of systematic discrimination by the employer.
- Conduct of an internal audit for a manufacturer of materials on-site with regards to prevention of potential investigations.
Noerr's compliance and investigations practice particularly often advises national and international corporations on suspicion cases, while the group was recently increasingly active in investigations related to breach of trust and money laundering. Due to the cross-practice cooperation within the firm, individual teams can be easily coordinated. Practice heads Torsten Fett and Sophia Habbe are experienced in matters pertaining to director's liability and liability issues and Christian Pelz, who along Martin Schorn has dispute resolution expertise, is the key contact for corruption, fraud and breach of trust cases. Lars Kutzner joined Dentons in April 2019.
Torsten Fett; Sophia Habbe
White & Case LLP's team combines expertise in compliance, international investigations and corporate criminal law. While the group has a traditionally good relationship with clients from the financial and automotive sectors, recent instructions stemmed increasingly from the steel, energy, pharmaceuticals and media industries. Money laundering, corruption and sanction matters are the main pillars of the group's advice portfolio. In addition to experienced team members Karl-Jörg Xylander and Nils Clemm, the group was strengthened by the arrival of Thomas Helck, who joined from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer at the beginning of 2019. Tine Schauenburg made partner.
Karl-Jörg Xylander; Nils Clemm
Baker McKenzie regularly assists corporations in the automotive, financial, construction, logistics and consumer goods industries with cross-border internal investigations, but recently also received instructions from the chemical and energy sectors. Andreas Lohner has longstanding experience in risk and crisis management and jointly heads the practice with Nicolai Behr, who is the key contact for white-collar crime matters. Anahita Thoms specialises in export control, sanctions and data protection. Thomas Grützner joined Latham & Watkins LLP in September 2018.
Andreas Lohner; Nicolai Behr
Other key lawyers:
- Conduct of an internal anti-corruption investigation regarding a defence project for a DAX-company.
- Conduct of an internal investigation for a US-American pharmaceutical company regarding export control.
- Conduct of an internal investigation aiming to clarify suspicions of false self-employment for an international media company.
Led by Ludger Giesberts, DLA Piper has wide-ranging experience in assisting with internal investigations pertaining to corruption, banking and capital markets criminal law, money laundering torts, disclosure of trade and business secrets as well as to cyber crime. In addition, the group advises on work accidents and environmental issues. Christian Schoop, senior counsel Jürgen Taschke as well as Emanuel Ballo, who joined from Gleiss Lutz, add white-collar crime expertise to the practice.
- Conduct of an internal investigation of the François-Blanc-Casino after the mandating of the management regarding the theft of €1.1Mio.
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP regularly assists clients with internal investigations related to export control, corruption and money laundering allegations as well as with crisis management. Due to its international network, the team is particularly well equipped to handle US-related matters. Benno Schwarz has longstanding experience in internal investigations, while Finn Zeidler focuses on matters in the banking and finance sectors and additionally advises on white-collar crime aspects along counsel Ralf van Ermingen-Marbach. Employment law expert Mark Zimmer is another name to note. And Markus Rieder, an experienced key contact for industrial and automotive corporations, joined from Latham & Watkins LLP in January 2020.
Benno Schwarz; Finn Zeidler; Mark Zimmer; Michael Walther; Markus Nauheim; Ferdinand Fromholzer
Hengeler Mueller's broad compliance, crisis management and internal investigations group is able to 'cover all aspects of complex matters' and advises corporations across diverse industries on corruption, tax and insolvency crimes, environmental torts, supervisory offences and money laundering audits. The white-collar crime practice, which includes key contacts Wolfgang Spoerr and Dirk Uwer, was additionally bolstered by the arrival of counsel Constantin Lauterwein from White & Case LLP in July 2018. Daniel Weiß is the key contact for banking and capital markets law, while Fabian Quast is adept in regulatory issues. Sven Schneider is experienced in dealing with authorities and Johanna Wirth is another integral part of the team.
Other key lawyers:
‘The Hengeler Mueller team is comprised of excellent lawyers with longstanding experience in the field.‘
‘Outstanding and communicative team leader Daniel Weiß keeps track even in the most complex cross-border matters.‘
‘Fabian Quast is an excellent and very experienced investigator, who is up to every trick and knows how to conduct an internal investigations efficiently and solution-oriented.’
‘Wolfgang Spoerr is an excellent and experienced criminal defence lawyer with creative and practice-oriented solutions.’
‘Jochen Vetter is technically highly competent and communicates perfectly also with non-lawyers.’
TÜV SÜD AG
- Conduct of internal and external international investigations for a financial service provider in connection with the alleged participation of a banking group in potentially criminal Cum/Ex tax avoidance schemes.
- Investigation for an international banking group of call date-related trading transactions within the Cum/Ex-context.
- Conduct of an internal investigation for a provider of advice and engineering services regarding potential false self-employment.
Linklaters' cross-practice team regularly assists financial institutions and corporations with complex investigations pertaining to suspicions of breach of trust, corruption and money laundering as well as with crisis management. The practice is jointly headed by Klaus Saffenreuther, who additionally advises on dispute resolution and finance law, and Hans-Ulrich Wilsing, who has experience in internal investigations, compliance and executive liability issues. Kerstin Wilhelm made partner and antitrust lawyer Daniela Seeliger supports the team as well.
Klaus Saffenreuther; Hans-Ulrich Wilsing
Deutsche Bank AG
Allen & Overy LLP
Allen & Overy LLP's team is particularly strong in the financial sector: its client roster includes banks, financial institutions, private equity firms and asset manager, which the group regularly advises on allegations of antitrust-related offences, market manipulation, fraud and insider trading. The practice is jointly led by Wolf Bussian and Jan Erik Windthorst, who both have strong expertise in dispute resolution as well as in investigations in the financial industry. For the latter, Gottfried Breuninger and recently appointed partner Magnus Müller stand out especially. Ellen Braun and Börries Ahrens are well versed in antitrust matters and counsel Tim Nikolas Müller, who joined from Clifford Chance in April 2019, has added white-collar crime and sanction expertise to the team.
Wolf Bussian; Jan Erik Windthorst
CMS assists national and international corporations from regulated sectors such as the defence, arms, energy and health industries, with internal investigations. In addition, the group advises on white-collar crime aspects and executive liability. Harald Potinecke heads the team which also includes Joachim Kaetzler, who is adept in money laundering and corruption issues, as well as Eckart Gottschalk, who has experience in corporate governance matters. Florian Block, Daniel Kaiser and Laura Blumhoff are other essential members of the group.
Other key lawyers:
Volkswagen / Porsche / Audi / VW Truck & Bus
Deutscher Fussball-Bund („DFB“)
thyssenkrupp Marine Systems
Dirk Rossmann Group
- Conduct of an internal investigation for a German medium-sized enterprise concerning the suspicion of corruption and bribery of public officials through payments.
- Internal investigation for a lending institute regarding the inspection of funding processes from recent years for private and public investment plans in different funding areas.
The team at Gleiss Lutz is instructed by executive and supervisory boards of national and international corporations in need of crisis management. The group is experienced in conducting internal investigations, particularly related to corruption and fraud matters, and also has a good reputation for its antitrust-related investigations. The practice is headed by Christian Steinle, Hansjörg Scheel and Eicke Bicker, who was recently involved in several cross-border investigations, and can also rely on the white-collar crime expertise of associated partner Christoph Skoupil. Emanuel Ballo joined DLA Piper at the beginning of 2019.
Christian Steinle; Hansjörg Scheel; Eicke Bicker
Other key lawyers:
Christoph Skoupil; Michael Arnold;
Latham & Watkins LLP's broad investigations practice has experienced an increase in instructions for more complex and cross-border internal investigations. Thomas Grützner, previously at Baker McKenzie, as well as data protection expert Tim Wybitul, previously at Hogan Lovells International LLP, joined the team in 2019. Markus Rieder, an experienced key contact particularly for industrial and automotive corporations, joined Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP in January 2020.
Stada Arzneimittel AG
Scholz Holding GmbH
Knuddels GmbH & Co. KG
- Conduct of an internal investigation for Stada Arzneimittel regarding the suspected violation of a position of trust and violations of executive board obligations by the former management.
- Conduct of an internal investigation for Scholz Holding in connection with alleged investment fraud by the former company management.
- Legal representation of Daimler as the defendant in a lawsuit at the German Federal Labour Court regarding the right to information for employees in accordance with the DSGVO (General Data Protection Regulation).
Pohlmann & Company
Compliance boutique offering Pohlmann & Company predominantly assists large German corporations across various industries with internal investigations and crisis management. Andreas Pohlmann has longstanding experience in the compliance arena as well as an excellent reputation in the market. Thomas Preute is also considered an investigations expert. Newly appointed partner Dominique Abrokwa advises on business partner reviews and counsel Dominique Strieder is a key contact for white-collar crime aspects.
- Advice to the supervisory board of the TÜV SÜD with regards to monitoring the internal investigation concerning a dam failure in Brazil.
- Organisation of the internal compliance investigations as a member of a dedicated committee for the supervisory board of Petrobas.
- Advised the Celanese-Group on an internal investigation after the acquisition of companies.
Reed Smith LLP
Deeply embedded within the international network of the firm, Reed Smith LLP's German team regularly advises international companies on internal investigations, corporate governance, data protection matters and sanctions. Practice head Rolf Hünermann is experienced in assisting corporations with crisis management and Christian Stempfle is well versed in dispute resolution. Senior associate Philip Schmidt is another name to note.
‘Rolf Hünermann stands out for a very solution-oriented approach. His legal assessments are very precise and binding, while also being very short and limited to the essentials.‘
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Due to its expertise in internal investigations, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is regularly instructed with matters related to suspicions of fraud, corruption and money laundering and also has strong cross-border capacities, not least because of the close cooperation with its US offices. Practice head Bernd Mayer has specialist expertise in corporate governance matters, internal investigations as well as in cooperation with regulatory authorities, and counsel Jens König focuses on investigations pertaining to financial fraud and in relation to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) as well as sanctions.
Other key lawyers:
- Advice to the management of a global acting service provider within the transport and logistics sector regarding a corruption case.
- Supported Daimler in connection with the ongoing investigation regarding exhaust emissions.
- Advised the executive board of a commercial bank in connection with allegations concerning aiding and abetting tax evasion.
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP focuses on internal investigations and corporate defence matters for industrial and commercial corporations, private equity fonds, banks and insurance companies. Practice head Thomas Schürrle assists corporations with investigations, but is also well versed in corporate and antitrust issues as well as dispute resolution. Associate Friedrich Popp is another active key contact.
Other key lawyers:
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP's corporate crime and investigations team advises on national and cross-border internal investigations, predominantly pertaining to suspicion of corruption, fraud, breach of trust, money laundering and violation of data protection regulations. The client base includes banks, automotive suppliers and industrial corporations. Practice head Dirk Seiler has particular expertise on the interface between civil and criminal law as well as in internal investigations, and senior associate Enno Appel is another key contact.
Other key lawyers:
Enno Appel; Friso Heukamp
‘The team is exceedingly flexible, client-oriented and is able to seamlessly transfer the results of internal investigations into necessary legal proceedings.‘
‘Dirk Seiler’s work is solution-oriented and successful.‘
Microsoft Deutschland GmbH, Microsoft Corporation (USA)
Pfizer Inc. (USA), Pfizer Products Inc. (USA), Pfizer GmbH (Deutschland)
- Conduct of internal investigations and legal representation of Microsoft in cases of fraud in civil proceedings and in connection with investigations of the public prosecutor’s offices involved
Jones Day regularly advises international corporations on internal investigations related to suspicion of fraud, breach of trust and corruption, particularly in the chemicals and pharmaceuticals industries, while the team is also equally familiar with environmental and human rights aspects. Practice head Karin Holloch frequently assists with corruption and export control matters and Martin Kock is the key contact for relevant corporate issues. European counsel Michael Mayer focuses on internal and governmental investigations.
Morrison & Foerster LLP
Morrison & Foerster LLP's German corporate litigation and investigations practice was bolstered by the arrival of Roland Steinmeyer and Patrick Späth, who both joined from WilmerHale in March 2019. The group is adept in assisting an international client base with internal investigations related to anti-corruption, competition law, environmental law and export control. Notably, the group cooperates strongly with its international offices. Counsel Felix Helmstädter has expertise in foreign trade law.
Other key lawyers:
Patrick Späth; Felix Helmstädter
‘The team is very committed and practical. Their approach is fast and pragmatic.‘
‘Patrick Späth stands out for his expertise.’
Hamburg Commercial Bank AG
Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen Girozentrale Anstalt des öffentlichen Rechts (Helaba)
- Advice to Helaba in connection with the reconditioning of share transactions close to the dividend record date.