Corruption Criminal Law
The German Act on Combating Corruption (Gesetz zur Bekämpfung der Korruption) brought about more rigorous definitions of a criminal offense in 1997, took over the offense of “bribery/capability of bribery in commercial transactions” from the competition law in the penal code (§ 299 StGB) and created its own offense element for agreements in restriction of competition (§ 298 StGB). Which type of conducts falls hereunder is not strictly defined: corporate recognized conduct and conduct relevant for criminal law lie particularly close to each other; the case law is also not clear. Investigations are undertaken with large expenditures, often substantial cash amounts are concerned and not only the social and professional failure of the accused is threatened but also the companies’ existences are often threatened on the basis of the measures skimming off profits and company fines. Therefore, companies also require a representative to provide legal counsel, if applicable, already preventively with these issues and, in this way, can preclude a possible criminal liability from the outset.