German Ministry of Justice releases official draft Corporate Sanctions Act

Germany is progressing towards a corporate sanctions law addressing the criminal conduct of companies, regarding executive bodies, managers and employees acting on behalf of the company. After the Federal Ministry of Justice unofficially released its draft “Act on the Sanctioning of Associations-Related Offences” (“Verbandssanktionengesetz“, “VerSanG“) in August 2019, we reported on the expected legislative changes in corporate criminal liability and internal investigations in Germany. On 22 April 2020, the Ministry of Justice officially published its (revised) draft bill.

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Corporate Crime update – Autumn 2019

Welcome to the Autumn 2019 edition of our corporate crime update – our round up of developments in relation to corruption, money laundering, fraud, sanctions and related matters. This bumper edition covers a number of jurisdictions, and includes content from the summer break.

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Corporate Criminal Liability and Internal Investigations – Expected Legislative Changes in Germany

In their March 2018 coalition agreement, the coalition partners CDU, CSU and SPD have agreed to establish new rules on criminal sanctions against companies and – for the first time – legal requirements for internal investigations. The agreement already sets out a clear framework and demonstrates a strong political will to tighten the level of sanctions, introduce an obligation to prosecute corporate crimes and create incentives for compliance measures as well as for the assistance in the clarification of criminal offences through internal investigations. The former Federal Justice Minister, Katarina Barley, declared the law reform to be a “priority project”. Following her election to the European Parliament, her successor, Christine Lambrecht, made the draft bill available to a small circle of experts in mid-August 2019 and started the consultation process with the other ministries. The legislative proposal is being discussed extensively in legal practice and academia.

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