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Customs and Foreign Trade Criminal Law

Customs and foreign trade criminal law is regulated in the Foreign Trade Act (AWG) and the EU Customs Code (UZK). In these areas of law, European law plays a predominant role. However, other international regulations are of eminent importance for all companies and corporations participating in international trade as well. These are e.g. the US Mail and wire fraud in accordance with 18 U.S. Crimes and Criminal Procedure Section 1341 or regulations criminalizing the violation of embargos imposed by the US or third countries, the UK Bribery Act and the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which all have extraterritorial reach. International infringements of these rules would entail very severe penalties.


The Foreign Trade Act regulates the import and the export as well as the transit of goods by exporting or importing companies. The EU Customs Code is the consolidation and harmonization of the various European customs legislation. It contains general provisions, procedural rules and other rules ensuring the application of the customs, tariff and other measures adopted in the context of the movement of goods between the EU and third countries.


Violations of customs and foreign trade law are severely sanctioned. The sanctions rages from fines to substantial custodial sentences for the persons involved. Due to the constant change in the prohibition standards in international trade, also in particular in view of the constantly changing world political situation, a maximum of attention is required to avoid violations of the AWG. Due to foreign trade regulations the import, export and transit of goods may be subject to prohibitions or require a prior approval from the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Export Control (BAFA). Current events such as the introduction of embargos against a large number of states pose considerable risks on business activities and require expert advice on international business operations. Even the observance of embargos issued by third countries could, in certain constellations, be sanctioned as an administrative offence by EU rules.


Thus, depth knowledge of European and international regulations closely linked to customs and foreign trade criminal law is crucial for conducting international business. Juergen Klengel has the necessary overview of the relevant standards and risks. He provides preventive advice to companies and individuals and leads internal investigations, if necessary. For many years, he has very successfully represented and defended the interests of companies and individuals at all stages of the proceedings.

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