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Internal investigations in Germany

Hogan Lovells International LLP

Hogan Lovells International LLP regularly handles internal investigations and specialises in assisting national and international companies from the automotive, life sciences, healthcare, technology, media and telecommunication sectors. As well as handling traditional investigative mandates, the team also demonstrates expertise in dealing with environmental, harassment and product compliance allegations. This corresponds to the work frequently handled by practice head Sebastian Lach, which includes not only compliance matters and internal investigations but also mandates pertaining to product safety and product liability. Désirée Maier is a key contact for white-collar crime matters, while Christian Ritz, who made partner at the beginning of 2020, covers matters at the antitrust law interface. In September 2020, the team was strengthened with the arrival of compliance specialist Olaf Schneider, who previously served as general counsel and chief compliance officer at Bilfinger.

Practice head(s):

Sebastian Lach

Key clients


Work highlights

  • BMW: Representation in cartel proceedings.
  • Eight DAX30, two MDAX, two SDAX, 16 Fortune 500, three Nikkei 225 and two SZSE 100 companies: Participation in around 40 internal investigations and advice on preventive and acute compliance issues.

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance specialises in advising companies from the financial and manufacturing industries on a wide range of matters, including mandates pertaining to money laundering, corruption and export control as well as data protection, monitoring, tax and cum-ex. Its capabilities to handle this broad range of work is not least based on the close cooperation between various practice groups and offices. Heiner Hugger is known for his experience in white-collar crime law; he jointly heads the practice with Peter Dieners, who is recognised for his healthcare sector expertise. David Pasewaldt is regularly called upon to assist with internal investigations and preliminary proceedings.

Practice head(s):

Heiner Hugger; Peter Dieners


Working in conjunction with various other practice groups enables the team at Noerr to provide one-stop-shop advice on preventive measures as well as on investigations and criminal defence proceedings. Torsten Fett is particularly well versed in stock corporation and capital markets law and thus a key contact for financial services companies. He co-heads the practice with Sophia Habbe, who puts particular emphasis on litigation and crisis management. Dispute resolution expert Anke Meier and white-collar crime lawyer Christian Pelz as well as foreign trade law specialist Bärbel Sachs are also part of the core team.

Practice head(s):

Torsten Fett; Sophia Habbe

Key clients

Adler Modemärkte AG

BSH Hausgeräte GmbH

Deutsche Bahn AG

Deutsche Börse AG

Fresenius Kabi AG

Fujitsu Technology Solutions GmbH

Hella GmbH & Co. KGaA

Philipp Morris GmbH

Schaltbau Holding AG

Zimmer Biomet Holdings

Work highlights

  • Deutsche Bahn AG: Advising the board of directors in the context of investigations into consulting contracts with former board members of group companies.

White & Case LLP

With a focus on the financial and automotive sectors, White & Case LLP deals with various compliance issues, internal investigations and white-collar crime matters. When handling internal investigations, the team demonstrates particular experience in matters pertaining to capital markets law, money laundering and cum-ex transactions but it also deals with classic compliance mandates. Practice head Karl-Jörg Xylander and Nils Clemm have many years of experience dealing with investigative proceedings and supervisory authorities. Tine Schauenburg is well versed in liability issues. Thomas Helck and associate Nicolas Rossbrey are other key contacts for matters at the intersection of white-collar crime.

Practice head(s):

Karl-Jörg Xylander

Baker McKenzie

Co-led by Andreas Lohner and Nicolai Behr, the team at Baker McKenzie acts in internal investigations for automotive, energy, finance, logistics, construction and consumer goods companies. Due to its cross-practice set-up, the team is able to cover a broad range of topics but, recently, it has placed an increased focus on the segments data protection and white-collar crime. Anahita Thoms assists with matters pertaining to international trade, while Stefan Scheuer's focus is on employment law. Counsel Anika Schürmann is rated for her expertise in criminal law.

Practice head(s):

Andreas Lohner; Nicolai Behr

Key clients



Work highlights

  • International pharmaceutical company: Carrying out an internal investigation in Germany on suspicion of corruption in the healthcare system, including forensic analysis of data.
  • American group: Carrying out internal investigations into export control violations of export-restricting regulations that were issued in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis.
  • German subsidiary of a US manufacturer: Conducting an internal investigation into corruption, tax evasion and social security fraud as well as interaction with the public prosecutor as well as the tax and social authorities.

DLA Piper

Due to its full-service approach, the team at DLA Piper covers a broad range of topics including data protection, employment law, antitrust law and insurance law as well as criminal law matters. Christian Schoop and senior counsel Jürgen Taschke are among the key contacts for the last-mentioned segment. With Emanuel Ballo, Daniel Zapf, who made counsel in May 2020, and counsel Stefanie Bischof forming the core team for national and international investigations alongside regulatory investigations, the team also has in-deep expertise at junior level. Its client base consists to a large part of German DAX 30 companies.

Practice head(s):

Christian Schoop 

Other key lawyers:

Jürgen Taschke; Emanuel Ballo; Daniel Zapf; Stefanie Bischof


Christian Schoop’s team has extensive experience and important knowledge of tax (criminal) law problems and knows how to work effectively with companies in dealing with internal issues. Internal investigations are effectively and purposefully accompanied, and the company’s managers are made aware of the specific problems and risks in terms of criminal and administrative law . ‘

Christian Schoop rightly has an excellent reputation in the field of white collar crime .’

The team impresses with its expertise and efficient, trustworthy approach to very sensitive issues.

Key clients

Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG

Work highlights

  • MDAX company: Support in carrying out an extensive cross-border internal investigation into unfair business practices of the subsidiary in different countries and in the subsequent disclosure to the competent Italian criminal and tax authorities.
  • International pharmaceutical company (DAX 30): Advising on an internal investigation of a group company regarding its business activities in Asia.
  • International shipping company: Advice in connection with suspected corruption and breach of trust worth millions.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP

Due to its close cooperation with the firm's US offices, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP is a popular choice for international DAX 30 and S&P 500 companies. The team demonstrates particular expertise in handling internal investigations involving export controls and allegations of corruption and money laundering. Other work includes crisis management and, with the arrival of dispute resolution specialist Markus Rieder from Latham & Watkins LLP in November 2019, an increasing amount of contentious issues. Other key members of the team include Benno Schwarz, who, as well as assisting with compliance investigations, also defends clients against white-collar criminal allegations, and regulatory investigations expert Finn ZeidlerMark ZimmerFerdinand Fromholzer and of counsel Ralf van Ermingen-Marbach are other contacts for internal investigations involving matters at various intersections.

Gleiss Lutz

Gleiss Lutz is actively intensifying the cross-border cooperation between the compliance & investigations practice and the white-collar crime group. The team receives regular instructions from management boards and supervisory boards to assist with, among other matters, negotiations with authorities and corporate liability issues as well as with internal investigations and classic compliance matters. Practice head Eike Bicker covers matters at the intersection between corporate law and compliance; his team includes the two antitrust law specialists Christian Steinle and Martin Raible alongside foreign trade law expert Burghard Hildebrandt. Associate Christoph Skoupil specialises in corporate defence.

Practice head(s):

Eike Bicker


' Gleiss Lutz has good practice. The specialist knowledge, the technical knowledge and the understanding of the client are incomparable . '

' Eike Bicker is a household name in the market .'

Hengeler Mueller

The team at Hengeler Mueller handles a broad spectrum of topics and increasingly acts in cooperation with the dispute resolution and white-collar crime practice groups. Clients, many of which stem from the finance, manufacturing and healthcare sectors, also benefit from the team's application of various legal tech tools and eDiscovery services. Daniel Weiß is a key contact for matters pertaining to tax offences, while Fabian Quast covers the segment public commercial law. White-collar crime lawyers Wolfgang SpoerrConstantin Lauterwein and Sven Schneider are other core members of the team.


' Despite the fact that this is a top company in Germany, the team's “culture” is down to earth, practical and not arrogant. '

' Constantin Lautewein's knowledge of legal technology is impressive. Being able to communicate competently with legal technology teams, especially in eDiscovery, allows one to have better / deeper conversations and maximize the assistive technology that this type of project can provide. He brings practical solutions to difficult problems, mostly with a good sense of humor. '

' The Hengeler Müller team shows its strengths particularly in cross-border investigations and is able to structure complex issues in a short time and to process them in terms of both content and law, even with a large number of jurisdictions involved .'

' Fabian Quast is particularly outstanding when it comes to international studies .'

'In my opinion, the team for internal investigations at Hengeler Müller is characterized by intelligence, determination, specialist knowledge and tenacity. When you work with Hengeler Müller, you have to be prepared for a high level of intensity and a high level of energy. It is not a law firm that you can just as easily satisfy, question, question, verify and examine. In everything you do, one thing is in the foreground: 120% for your client! '

' Fabian Quast is a knowledgeable and excellent lawyer. Detailed and always with the aim of understanding everything before making a recommendation . '

' Daniel Weiß is a knowledgeable and excellent lawyer. Determined and sharp thinking, he questions until he has understood everything. '

' Can be reached and approached at any time; Analysis in detail and excellently prepared; several contacts, all up-to-date . '


Linklaters has carved out a strong practice advising supervisory and management boards from the financial sector as well as from the automotive, technology and manufacturing industries. Working in conjunction with various other practice groups, the team is able to handle a wide range of matters such as corporate governance and executive body liability alongside criminal and administrative fine proceedings. Specialised in corporate law, Hans-Ulrich Wilsing jointly heads the practice with Kerstin Wilhelm, who is well versed assisting with regulatory investigations. Klaus Saffenreuther (white-collar crime), Jens Blumenberg (tax crisis management and compliance) and Daniela Seelinger (antitrust law and compliance) are other key contacts.

Allen & Overy LLP

With a focus on the financial sector, Allen & Overy LLP's team regularly handles internal investigations for national and international banks and financial institutions. The practice demonstrates particular expertise in handling whistleblower issues and matters pertaining to cum-ex transactions. Manufacturing companies also receive advice on antitrust law and data protection matters. The group is co-headed by Wolf Bussian and Jan Erik Windthorst, who are both experienced in civil litigation. Tax lawyer Gottfried Breuninger and antitrust law expert Börries Ahrens are other key individuals.

Key clients

Google, Inc.

National Bank of Canada

Work highlights

  • International Bank: Cross-border internal investigation into cum-ex deals and coordination of the approach towards law enforcement, tax and supervisory authorities.
  • European real estate company: Internal investigation into possible violations of capital market law requirements against the background of an investigation procedure by the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority and another authority from other European countries.
  • Google, Inc.: Advice in connection with the German sector inquiry into online ads as well as in connection with investigations by various antitrust authorities on various platform topics.


The group at CMS supports German and international companies from sectors such as healthcare, defence and services in internal investigations, for which it makes use of specially developed legal tech tools. In cross-border work, clients benefit from the team's close cooperation with other offices within the firm's network. Practice head Harald Potinecke is experienced in white-collar crime law as well as in dealing with authorities, while Daniel Kaiser regularly advises on tax law matters. Compliance management expert Florian BlockJoachim Kaetzler (banking supervisory law and compliance) and counsel Laura Blumhoff (compliance, internal investigations and white-collar crime) are other key contacts.

Practice head(s):

Harald Potinecke

Latham & Watkins LLP

In cross-practice cooperation, Latham & Watkins LLP advises on antitrust, employment, banking regulatory and sanctions law and also handles related disputes. Matters at the interface with data protection and associated data protection infringement issues are routinely handled by Tim Wybitul, while Thomas Grützner assists companies and financial institutions with various compliance and white-collar crime matters. Tobias Larisch advises companies, most notably from the energy sector, on corporate governance and compliance. The team's expertise also attracts national and international DAX companies from various other sectors.

Key clients

Deutsche Wohnen

Hg / P&I

CVC Capital

Pohlmann & Company

Boutique Pohlmann & Company is best known for its compliance focus and stands out for its strong practice providing preventative advice and assistance in crisis management. The team acts for companies from an array of sectors such as automotive, consumer goods, infrastructure, energy and healthcare, which also make use of the team's interface expertise in environmental and real estate law. Andreas Pohlmann is a popular choice for corporate bodies and board members, which require advice on duties and obligations, while Nicole Willms is rated for her combined expertise in compliance and corporate law. Thomas Preute, who specialises in internal investigations, moved to Jones Day in November 2019.

Practice head(s):

Andreas Pohlmann

Key clients

Andersch AG Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft


Deutsche Lufthansa AG

Dr. Willmar Schwabe GmbH & Co. KG

ESWE Versorgungs AG

Independent Monitor VW (L. Thompson)

International Chemical Investors Group S.E.

Krones AG

Marquard & Bahls AG

Rentschler Biopharma SE

Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy GmbH & Co. KG

SIG Combibloc Group AG (CH)

Ticona (jetzt Celanese Services Deutschland GmbH)



Work highlights

  • TÜV SÜD AG: Advising the supervisory board on monitoring the internal investigation into the dam breach in Brazil, including crisis management.

Reed Smith LLP

Reed Smith LLP's corporate governance and compliance practice offers expertise in various compliance segments including data protection, financial accounting, sanctions and export control. To the client's benefit, the team is also working on intensifying its international cooperation, leading to an increase in monitorship work. Team head Rolf Hünermann combines his experience in regulatory investigations and criminal defence with skills in corporate law.

Practice head(s):

Rolf Hünermann

Other key lawyers:

Philip Schmidt; Christian Stempfle

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

The team at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP receives instructions from boards of directors and supervisory boards requiring assistance with internal investigations involving fraud, corruption, sanctions and money laundering. In this work, clients benefit from the team's close cooperation with dispute resolution lawyers as well as from its experience in dealing with various authorities. This range of topics is also the focus of practice head Bernd Mayer, who receives regular support from dispute resolution expert Anke Sessler.

Practice head(s):

Bernd Mayer

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP's varied client portfolio includes German and international portfolio, manufacturing and trading companies as well as private equity funds, banks and insurance companies. In cooperation with other offices across the firm's network, the team assists its clients with cross-border internal investigations and corporate defence proceedings. Practice head Thomas Schürrle combines his corporate governance expertise with specialist knowledge in the areas of data protection and corporate law; he is supported by senior associate Friedrich Popp, who handles a similarly broad workload.

Practice head(s):

Thomas Schürrle

Other key lawyers:

Friedrich Popp

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP's corporate crime & investigations group excels in handling domestic and cross-border instructions that often involve corruption, breach of trust, embezzlement and money laundering matters. Subsequently, the team not only handles internal investigations but also criminal matters. Practice head Dirk Seiler is a key contact for the civil and criminal intersection, as is senior associate Enno Appel, who is experienced in financial crime-related matters. Counsel Friso Heukamp handles data protection, cybersecurity, compliance and white-collar crime work.

Practice head(s):

Dirk Seiler

Other key lawyers:

Enno Appel; Friso Heukamp

Key clients

Microsoft Deutschland GmbH, Microsoft Corporation (USA)

Ford-Werke GmbH

Pfizer Inc. (USA), Pfizer Products Inc. (USA), Pfizer GmbH (Deutschland)

Fritz Winter Eisengießerei GmbH & Co. KG

Work highlights

  • Global company specializing in heavy industry, machine and vehicle construction, the aviation industry and the electronics industry: Carrying out a cross-border internal investigation and advice on criminal law risks and data protection.
  • Ford: Advice and representation in connection with systematic economic crimes (fraud, embezzlement, corruption and money laundering) by employees, suppliers and subcontractors to the detriment of the automobile manufacturer.
  • Global automotive and industrial supplier: Carrying out an internal investigation in Germany, the USA, Brazil and Colombia in connection with whistleblower allegations concerning the South American subsidiaries.

Jones Day

In January 2020, the team at Jones Day received a boost with the arrival of Thomas Preute from Pohlmann & Company, which enabled the team to expand its preventive advisory services. Most notably, this includes matters at the intersection with data protection, antitrust, employment and tax law, which are handled in cooperation with the respective practices. This offer is taken up by companies across various sectors such as automotive, chemicals, life sciences and finance. Key contacts include Karin Holloch, who is experienced in corruption prevention and export control, dispute resolution expert Thomas Mahlich and Martin Kock, whose strength lies at the interface between internal investigations and corporate law.

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Led by Roland Steinmeyer, who covers the full remit of compliance and corporate governance, Morrison & Foerster LLP regularly advises banks and manufacturing groups on various issues arising in the course of internal investigations. This includes matters pertaining to anti-corruption, competition and environmental law, export control and sanctions as well as corporate governance and D&O liability. Patrick Späth is called upon in contentious scenarios.

Practice head(s):

Roland Steinmeyer


' Reliable, service-oriented, absolutely able to work in a team and always extremely friendly in daily dealings .

' Roland Steinmeyer is a blessing for the mandate. He always looks after his clients reliably, confidently and calmly and thus contributes in a unique way to the overall success of the project. His team also fits in seamlessly with this consideration . '

' Patrick Späth is a very experienced compliance advisor; always prepared in detail with a lot of background knowledge. Calm and confident appearance with an overview of the overall processes and procedures, especially with large compliance investigations . '

Key clients

Daimler AG

Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen Girozentrale Anstalt des öffentlichen Rechts (Helaba)

Hamburg Commercial Bank AG