White Collar Defense


We advise and represent companies and individuals both domestically and abroad in all areas of white collar crimes law. We seek to assist our client in the avoidance of criminal law violations (criminal law preventative counsel or criminal compliance) and offer counsel in individual cases. We develop guidelines and provide training as well as defense representation in cases where criminal or administrative charges are brought against companies or their board members, management or employees, and other individuals. We do this in all phases of a criminal proceeding – from criminal investigations carried out by a public prosecutor to trial and appellate court proceedings.


We help protect the continued financial viability of businesses, which all too often is already put at risk when an investigation is ongoing. We prevent individuals affected in the early stages of proceedings from being subjected permanently to harm through the use of temporary measures (such as investigative detention). We represent you in a pragmatic manner, and also do so zealously – at the investigative stage, at trial, and on appeal.


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Practice Areas


  • Corporate defense / Corporate sanctions/fines
  • Internal Investigations and defense in internal company investigations
  • Criminal compliance & due diligence
  • Ombudsman
  • Criminal law on corruption
  • Criminal law involving the misuse of financial assets (breach of trust and fraud)
  • Antitrust violations law
  • Criminal competition law and the illegal transfer of know-how
  • Criminal capital-markets law
  • Banking criminal law
  • Criminal corporate law
  • Criminal labor law
  • Criminal bankruptcy law
  • Criminal environmental law
  • Criminal sports law
  • Criminal pharmaceutical and doping law
  • Criminal internet and media law
  • Criminal foreign trade law

Criminal Tax Law



In the event a criminal tax proceeding has been initiated, we represent you from the initial stages – frequently a search of the premises – until the matter is concluded. Our goal is to avoid a highly visible public trial by reaching an advantageous out-of-court settlement with the tax and criminal prosecutors. We also defend you at trial and on appeal as well as against the imposition of investigative detention, and we do so with uncompromised commitment to you.


We offer comprehensive expertise in both criminal law and criminal procedure as well as tax law and the procedure involved in tax proceedings. We have years of experience negotiating with tax authorities and prosecutors. Should you desire, in addition to the criminal tax proceeding, we can also assist you in the event of a tax audit and advise you in a tax dispute with the goal of arriving at a mutually advantageous termination of the proceedings. Here, we also like to work closely and professionally with our clients’ tax advisors.

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Entrepreneurs and those involved in positions of responsibility in business may quickly find themselves involved in criminal tax proceedings or the subject of a tax audit. The early and effective defense and counsel in a criminal tax case and corresponding tax determination proceeding ensures the best possible negotiating position for our client, whether it is as the accused facing fines or imprisonment, or as a business facing possible tax consequences and other liability, or as a witness.


Tax compliance, an area in which we can rely on our longstanding and comprehensive experience, is something that begins far in advance of any possible criminal tax proceedings. By putting in place effective tax compliance structures, for example, we help prevent conduct from the get-go that would be a violation of criminal tax laws, such as tax evasion – or, at the very least, we help ensure that the risk of liability to company management is minimized. If, for instance, a case of unlawful tax avoidance has been identified, we prepare supplemental tax returns and voluntary disclosures, and we guide you through the entire process.


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Cross-Border Issues


Criminal actions and the risks of criminal liability are rarely only a matter of German law, due in part to the cross-border issues that arise in the globalized nature of business as well as the laws and regulations applicable across the jurisdictions in which your business operates. Globalization and Europeanization affect the criminal law and procedure applied in Germany – in a much more pronounced way than even just a few years ago. In particular, the prosecutorial practice of foreign prosecutors and administrative agencies does not simply stop at the German border. In addition to international criminal courts and prosecutorial agencies or the EU in antitrust actions, the United States as well as other European nations, proceed according to the theory of extraterritoriality with respect to the application of their criminal laws. They seek enforcement against German citizens and German businesses both domestically and abroad using legal remedies that include extradition or the confiscation of assets. Businesses and management executives thus often require counsel regarding applicable foreign or international criminal law.

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Effective criminal law counsel today demands expertise in the relevant law of the European Union, international treaties on both legal remedies as well as with respect to an array of conventions on the criminal law on corruption. In addition, comparative law expertise regarding relevant foreign legal systems is required, of which fluent foreign language skills and an international network are indispensable components.


With these requirements in mind, we guarantee high quality counsel and defense in all cross-border matters such as during internal investigations conducted from abroad or domestically. We provide expert counsel and defense in matters of mutual legal assistance, including extradition proceedings, criminal tax-law counsel with regard to businesses located abroad, or in the event foreign prosecutors, tax authorities or regulators take action against individuals or businesses.  Because of our international network, we are able to rely on the cooperation of local partners and can safeguard your interests, doing so confidently in English and Italian as well. We are, therefore, able to offer you legal counsel at any time on foreign criminal law, or a coordinated approach to institutional proceedings carried out abroad using our network and particular legal expertise, especially, but not limited to, the United States and Italy.


We have many years of practical and academic experience not only in European criminal law and the law on mutual legal assistance, the European Convention on Human Rights, international treaties on mutual legal assistance, including extradition, the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and international treaties on the criminal law of corruption, but also white collar crimes laws of other European nations. Therefore, we guarantee competent counsel to all individuals and businesses in any case with cross-border issues.


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Criminal Medical Malpractice


In light of the recent enhancements of the law as well as increasing prosecutorial practice, medical malpractice law risks are growing for participants in the health sector. This includes not only hospitals and industry companies, but also managers, physicians, and pharmacists in private practice as well as those employed by hospitals and other institutions. Criminal medical malpractice law consists of the traditional areas of individual representation, e.g. cases of criminal physician liability, fraudulent billing claims charges, corruption or breach of trust, and preventative compliance counsel for all those working in the health sector. In addition to substantive and procedural criminal law rules, compliance with continually changing provisions found in social, medical, and data protection laws must be ensured.  In the past few years, cases involving white-collar crimes law have become the focus of prosecutors. For hospitals in particular, criminal tax-law and criminal labor-law areas of risk have been prevalent.

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An increased necessity exists to (preventatively) review existing structures and agreements at businesses involved in the medical industry, at hospitals, and other organizations associated with the health professions. This is due to widely publicized criminal actions for fraudulent billing claims or charges that paid staff, who are actually employed, are nevertheless working under the pretense of contractor independence. However, new legislation such as the Act to Combat Corruption in Health Care Services, for example, has also given rise to this necessity. The focus here is placed on areas of cooperation between those involved in health care service who are exposed in a number of ways to risk, or on the criminal tax and labor law risks associated with paid staff.


We have comprehensive experience in criminal medical malpractice law from a highly specialized team of experts, both with respect to consultation and representation of hospital groups and pharmaceutical and medical product manufacturers, as well as in the defense of individuals. A major focus of our work consists, at all times, in the prevention or minimization of professional responsibility, liability, tax and other non-criminal consequences.


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For a defendant in a major whitecollar crime case, who is convicted at trial (in a court of first instance), an appeal is the only remedy available. A successful appeal is a significant challenge since appellate courts limit themselves to reviewing the lawfulness of the process and the written judgment. Moreover, appellate procedure is characterized by legal complexity, rigorous adherence to form and deadlines, and is largely conducted in writing. The desired result is not attained by accurately reconstructing the facts of the case, but only by persuasively presenting the procedural and substantive legal position on the basis of the judgment and trial transcript as well as a meticulous and complete statement of procedural errors and, in exceptional cases, errors in the consideration of the evidence. As a result of several years in a leading law firm specializing in appellate law, in which he worked exclusively on appeals, Dr. Rübenstahl specializes both in appellate representation as well as providing counsel and representation at trial with a view to a possible later appeal, and does so – of course – in close collaboration with trial defense counsel.

Prof. Dr. Markus Rübenstahl (Steuerstrafrecht) - Beste Anwälte 2021
Prof. Dr. Markus Rübenstahl - Best Lawyers 2022