In a ruling issued in January 2017, the German Federal Court of Justice (“Bundesgerichtshof, BGH“) has once again extended the scope of liability for a so-called “hard” letters of comfort.
A suitable instrument to enforce civil claims?
After discovering criminal offenses, the question often arises on how to ensure that civil claims against the wrongdoer – for damages or recovery of the misappropriated assets – are best safeguarded and pursued. While the new rules on asset recovery (cf. here) undoubtedly make it easier to enforce civil claims for injured persons, it should not be ignored that the law enforcement agencies will still predominantly focus on the criminal aspects of the crime and not its civil consequences. For this reason alone, it may make sense not to wait for a criminal conviction, but to early on collect own knowledge also with regard to the enforcement of civil law claims. Also in order to be able to monitor the status of the criminal procedure, the inspection of the criminal files is a suitable instrument.
Due to my annual skiing-holidays, I am a little late with my January monthly and thus had to watch in awe the stock exchanges crashing all over the world. Currently, the search is ongoing for the reasons of this crash. I will dwell deeper into this in the next month. Before, let’s look back into January – where the GroKo was still under construction and the German economy seemed to happily hum along:
As an awesome year drew where record chased record, Germans finally seemed to enjoyed themselves rather than going out on a shopping-spree. At least that is what the incoming figures about retail around Christmas tell us: Despite growing by a healthy three per cent, especially smaller retails seem to be not too happy about their … more
As already previously reported here, the German lawmaker was very active during the last weeks of the past legislative period – especially in the area of compliance / prevention of white collar crime. The reform of the German Money Laundering Act, including the introduction of a Transparency Register, hereby occupies a prominent position.
Due to the reduction of the upper limit for cash transactions (previously Euro 15,000), as well as the introduction of extensive analysis, documentation and reporting duties, which are generally not dependent on the size of the company, the effects for SMEs are still underestimated.
Despite (or because of?) a political turmoil after the failed “Jamaica”-coalition talks in Germany (others would say: normal political circumstances), the economy is doing quite well, even if the DAX showed some weakness in November:
It is getting quite boring to announce record after record in the German economy: From DAX to employment and from industrial output to ifo – record-highs everywhere. We Germans are not accustomed to such a lengthy period of record-growht. There are, however, not many pessimists left now who are willing to predict any sort of crisis. And I am currently at least not one of them. First, let’s look into the German economy with the help of several key indicators:
In another blow to the attempts of the German legislative and executive authorities to maintain some reliability on the German turnaround playing field, the German Federal Tax Court (“Bundesfinanzhof” (BFH)) maintained in a decision issued on 23 August 2017 that the so-called “Decree on Turnaround” (“Sanierungserlass”) could not even be upheld for cases which were filed with the tax authorities prior to the publication of the said BFH-decision (to declare the Sanierungserlass nil and void, cf. here for further details) on 9 February 2017.
Recently, German gazettes have been well-filled with reports of corruption in involving German companies: the former director of the Sparkasse / Bonn (among others) faces bribery charges surrounding the subsequent use of the Cologne exhibition halls for the tv-channel-group RTL (here). Furthermore, several (!) high-ranking managers of Adidas seems to have promised US-high-school athletes money to convince them to play at certain universities (here). However, the current highlight of the discoveries is undoubtedly Airbus: the group is said to be involved in bribery payments in connection with aircraft sales (here). In the public, and also in the aforementioned press reports, the main focus is on the offenders. This should not obscure the fact that the companies concerned can also suffer severe economic damages. However, a recent ruling by the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) could at least point to a risk-minimization …