Business criminal law and criminal proceedings

Business criminal law undoubtedly represents one of the key disciplines of our practice. Due to the sensitive nature of this type of cases, we only agree to deal with them after a careful selection of the files.

In this context, we regularly carry out advisory missions, for example, concerning the evaluation of criminal risk in a planned transaction or a general  activity , or even regarding an actual situation that has already arisen. The evaluation of any transnational criminal risk forms an integral part of such assessments. Similarly, we regularly bring criminal actions for victims, although we cannot emphasize enough that when asset-related interests are involved, the civil route is often much more effective than the criminal route, in which the victim abandons his case to a prosecuting authority,  which is largely beyond his control. Finally, we also take on the role of defendants in criminal cases.

Without any claim to be exhaustive, the range of offences covered goes from forgery, fraud, breach of trust, misuse of company assets,  through to corruption, insider trading, offences of tax fraud, IT fraud, the illegal practice of a regulated profession, or money-laundering offences. Often, the criminal offences of which our clients are accused are concerned with the exercise of their professional duties (obligations of compliance, KYC, suspicious transactions reports, etc.).

Criminal cases, both in prosecution and in defence, are in fact frequently “won” before they get to court. This is why we exercise the greatest possible vigilance during this preparatory stage of a criminal law suit or its dismissal.

Therefore, when we are acting for the defence, we assist our clients as early as possible, that is to say, from the very first pre-trial measures ordered by the investigating judge (searches, seizures, hearings, etc.). Through this practice we have over the years acquired a considerable experience, particularly with regard to searches and seizures carried out in financial institutions or law offices whose particularity is that they keep privileged client details. Quite often we are then called upon to institute annulment actions against investigative measures, or appeals against the orders by an investigating judge or court chambers.

Recently, another form of enquiry has been developing in Luxembourg that has hitherto been unprecedented. These are “private” enquiries which companies are expected to carry out themselves on an internal basis (hearing of individuals, IT investigations, document analyses, etc.) in order to cast light on situations,  which may have arisen internally. This type of enquiry may be demanded from a client by a supervisory authority, or it may be purely voluntary, if the management suspects malfunctions within the business (e.g. suspicions of corruption). Our law office may then get involved at the request of the client in order to carry out this enquiry in collaboration with an audit firm or in order to assist persons subject to such enquiry.