Compliance, Antitrust Law, Investment Control and Internal Investigations

As a multi-disciplinary firm of attorneys, tax advisors and auditors we advise companies on how to prevent breaches of the law. To that end we offer our clients customized solutions for compliance programs, which are simple and unbureaucratic to put into practice both in small and large companies.

A particular focus lies on antitrust law. We support our clients in all areas of antitrust law, in particular in mounting a defence against fines imposed under antitrust law and legal representation in damages proceedings under antitrust law. In transaction projects, we provide representation and coordination in any necessary merger and investment control proceedings before the relevant antitrust and regulatory authorities. 

In the event that a suspected breach of the law has occurred, we will investigate the events in question for our client. Moreover, we will advise on all legal and tax-related questions that may arise in connection with a breach of the law.

Our consulting services

Compliance program

  • Determination of the company’s “risk class” 
  • Drafting the required documentation (code of conduct and guidelines for employees)
  • Advising and representing clients during negotiations with employee representatives concerning the introduction of compliance programs 
  • Training employees
  • Providing ongoing support services for the compliance program (e.g. as ombudsman or provider of a whistleblower hotline)

Ongoing compliance advice

  • Review of the legitimacy of contracts and cooperations 
  • Providing support with meeting compliance requirements of customers and other business partners (e.g. when making suppliers’ declarations)

Tax Compliance

  • Preparing strategies to ensure tax compliance
  • Support with the implementation of tax compliance Systems

Contract structuring in line with antitrust law

  • Kartellrechtliche Ausgestaltung von Verträgen in Lieferbeziehungen (Vertikalverhältnis) und zwischen Wettbewerbern (Horizontalverhältnis) 
  • Beratung zu Kundenschutzvereinbarungen, Wettbewerbsverboten und Abwerbeverboten  
  • Erstellung von Technologietransfer-Vereinbarungen
  • Beratung zu Forschungs- und Entwicklungskooperationen

Cartel law fines 

  • Representation in antitrust-related sanction proceedings and market abuse proceedings before the German Federal Cartel Office and the European Commission
  • Representation in proceedings before German and European Courts
  • Advising on leniency applications in the context of antitrust violations 
  • Support in reaching a settlement with the competition authorities 
  • In the event of cross-border cartels, we call on our experienced team within our Network (Lawyers Associated Worldwide – LAW) in all countries in question
  • Analyzing the economic context and effects of cartel for purposes of mounting a defence and to guard against damages claims under antitrust law

Damages claims under antitrust law

  • Development of an effective and targeted negotiation strategy for the out-of-court assertion of and defence against damages claims under antitrust law 
  • Judicial enforcement and defence against damages claims under antitrust law at a national and international level 
  • Economic assessment of antitrust-related losses suffered, for purposes of asserting or defending against a claim

Merger control  

  • Early review of merger filing obligations and the probability of a merger approval in M&A procedures
  • Preparation of merger filings and representation in merger filing proceedings before the German Federal Cartel Office and the European Commission 
  • Organizing merger filings abroad via our network (Lawyers Associated Worldwide – LAW)
  • Ongoing support on the economics of competition in order to establish positive economic effects
  • Early examination and preparatory consultation with regard to reporting obligations in the area of sector-specific and cross-sector investment control
  • Clarification of legal borderline or doubtful issues with the responsible federal ministry
  • Representation vis-à-vis the competent Federal Ministry in the notification of reportable transactions and in obtaining clearance certificates
  • Representation vis-à-vis the competent Federal Ministry in investigation proceedings initiated ex officio
  • Advice on the consideration of investment control law in the drafting of transaction documentation, in particular in company purchase agreements 

Support with crisis Management

  • Advising on obligations on the part of management in the case of legal breaches
  • Carrying out plausibility checks in the event that a breach of the law is suspected 
  • Providing support in the event of searches by the investigating authorities 
  • Support in terms of press law 
  • Review of D&O insurance cover

Investigation of the facts

  • Securing existing evidence 
  • Questioning witnesses and employees 
  • Forensic investigations (e.g. software-based searches and filtering emails)
  • (Electronic) analysis of accounting data 
  • Advising on data protection law

Review of tax obligations 

  • Review of possible tax implications of the legal breach
  • Handling all correspondence with the revenue authorities 
  • Preparing tax reports and voluntary declarations 

Defending the company  

  • Analysing the risks of criminal prosecution +
  • Representation in criminal and administrative sanction proceedings 
  • Advising on cooperating with the investigating authorities and settlement proceedings

Disciplinary measures 

  • Providing comprehensive employment-law advice throughout the whole process 
  • Drafting amnesty agreements in the event of a cooperation 
  • Employment law advice and support in the implementation of disciplinary measures (e.g. regarding warnings and, where appropriate, summary dismissals, and regarding the rights of co-determination of the employee representatives) 
  • Valuation and enforcement of damages claims against employees and corporate bodies

Consequences in terms of public procurement law and “self-cleaning” 

  • Review of the implications of a breach of public procurement law, e.g. as a ground for exclusion in future public procurement procedures and, where applicable, defence against an exclusion from the procedure 
  • Review of the requirements for “self-cleaning” in terms of public procurement law, and preparation of the required documents in order to show that “self-cleaning” has taken place 
  • Support during the negotiations with the public contracting entities or authorities regarding the approval of a successful self-cleaning process

Your contact persons

Dr. Dirk Meinhold-Heerlein
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Dr. Christoph Cordes LL.M.
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Dr. Andreas von Criegern
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Dr. Erwin Salamon
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Dr. Philipp Engelhoven
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Partner in **
Jürgen E. Milatz
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Michael Kapitza
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Johan Sieveking
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Jan Christian Eggers LL.M.
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Partner *
Stefan Gatz
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Partner *
Thomas Schäffer
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Partner *
Dennis Pohlmann
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* Associated Partner (no Partner of the professional partnership)
** Of Counsel (no Partner of the professional partnership)

brand eins 2022

brand eins again ranks us among the best business law firms in Hamburg. As a special distinction, it says: "Was recommended above average as a particularly innovative law firm". 

The practices employment law, corporate law, commercial law, antitrust law, competition law as well as M&A were particularly highlighted.

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JUVE-GUIDE 2019/2020

Nominated at the JUVE Awards 2019 as "Law Firm of the Year for Dispute Resolution", ESCHE has been certified as having considerable compliance know-how, particularly by criminal law boutiques. 

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WirtschaftsWoche 2019

WirtschaftsWoche counts us among the "Top Law Firms" 2019 in Germany in the field of antitrust law. Dr. Philipp Engelhoven from our firm is named as "Top Lawyer".