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Compliance: Corruption And Antitrust Law in Germany

Advice on corruption prevention and antitrust law violations

Cases of corruption and violations of antitrust regulations cause large financial damages in companies every year and, in extreme cases, can endanger livelihoods. In addition, there is the threat of

  • considerable loss of reputation for the companies concerned,
  • fines against companies, directors and employees,
  • personal liability of directors and
  • criminal sanctions and claims for damages by third parties.

What is considered corruption?

Corruption refers to the abuse of a position of power for one's own private benefit. Such a position of power may be, for example, the result of

  • a public office,
  • a function in the economy or
  • a political mandate.

Abuse of such a position of power manifests itself, for example, through bribery or venality, corruptibility with regard to certain (also political) decisions motivated by a quid pro quo, or the attempt to gain (personal) advantages through bribes.

In (corporate) practice, corruption often manifests itself in international business transactions in business areas that are sensitive to bribery, favours to public officials or personal benefits that do not have to be directly related to the actual business.

What are the requirements of German antitrust law?

German antitrust law ensures fair competition and serves to ensure the standards of the free market economy. In addition, antitrust law should protect consumers by preventing collusion and agreements to their detriment. The core content is the prevention of agreements on prices, price changes and calculations as well as agreements among competitors on bidder and offer behaviour with tenders.

The development and integration of appropriate preventive measures in a functioning compliance management system are crucial in the context of antitrust compliance in the company.

Entrepreneurs are obliged to take supervisory measures

The company management is obliged to take appropriate supervisory and organizational measures that are suitable, necessary and reasonable regarding the prevention of criminal offences and compliance-relevant incidents. Monitoring and organizational systems must be in place to identify any developments at an early stage that could impair or jeopardize the continued existence of the company in order to prevent any compliance-relevant incidents and thus liability. Here, not only the liability of the companies themselves plays a decisive role but also the personal, unlimited liability of the managing directors.

Our consulting services on corruption prevention and antitrust violations

Our experts are at your disposal for topics relating to corruption and antitrust prevention law in Germany with our comprehensive and practice-oriented concepts:

Core elements of corruption prevention:

  • complex compliance management systems
  • internal corruption guidelines
  • customized control mechanisms
  • guidelines and/or flowcharts for conducting forensic examinations
  • whistleblower hotlines 
  • employee training on corruption

Prevention against antitrust violations:

  • We support companies in both preventive antitrust compliance measures (from the development of a compliance management system to preventive coverage through D&O insurance as well as training courses on the prevention of antitrust law violations) and (extra-)judicial representation in the event of any antitrust law violations (including claims for damages and claims of recourse).

Our experts will gladly advise you on the concrete design of such effective organizational structures - depending on the individual risk situation, the scope, the content and the necessary resources - and will accompany you from the composition to the implementation and the further testing of existing systems and any adjustments.

Your attorney for corruption prevention in Germany

Would you like to prevent corruption in your company? Do you want to avoid antitrust law violations in order to prevent damage to your company? We will gladly provide you with advice and support. Your contact persons are

The best way to reach us is by e-mail (info@winheller.com) or by telephone (+49 69 76 75 77 80). Please feel free to contact us with your questions.

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Awards

Juve AwardLegal 500 Germany 2019
azur100: Top Employer for Lawyers 2021