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Antitrust criminal law

Antitrust criminal law is a sub-sector of economic criminal law. It is regulated not only by the Law against Restrictions of Competition (GWB) at a national level, but also, in particular, at the international level by the directives of the Directorate-General for EU Competition Policy of the European Commission. The prosecution of cartel infringements is largely governed by the German Code of Administrative Offences Act (OWiG). Interventions by antitrust authorities into the rights of individuals and companies follow the principles laid down in the German Criminal Procedural Code (StPO).

As an independent competition authority, the Federal Cartel Office (Bundeskartellamt) is entrusted with the task of ensuring the protection of competition in Germany and, in particular, the application and enforcement of the GWB. At European level, there are many other legal bases in treaties and regulations, such as the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) or the Merger Regulation (FKVO). Violations of antitrust criminal law are punishable by extremely high penalty payments and in some cases with the skimming of profits of the company. Search and seizure are very frequent in this field of law. The rules on fines as an additional element of antitrust law can be found in Section 81 GWB. The GWB constitutes the basis of the liability not only for the violators themselves, but also for the supervisors, so that even company executives are often liable for violations of the law.

Defense Attorney Juergen Klengel has many years of practical knowledge in assisting various companies and groups in antitrust criminal law issues. He advises on possible breaches of duty by managers, organs and employees, in particular if compliance violations and inadequate compliance management systems are affected. Furthermore, he examines the use of bonus schemes thoroughly which may result in letting the company off a penalty completely.

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