Liedekerke’s White-Collar Crime & Compliance Practice focuses on criminal law in the context of business activities. We advise clients on avoidance, resolution, and anticipation of issues of (potential) criminal liability and related risks. We also assist in criminal investigations as well as in criminal and civil enforcement proceedings.
Risks of criminal liability and criminal prosecution are potentially quite high for amongst others companies and for senior executives, directors and company officers. This is in part due to the inherent complexity and ambiguity of many industry-specific legal regulations, the violation of which is criminally sanctioned.
It is therefore paramount to have an adequate knowledge and understanding of potential areas of vulnerability, and to be able to count on a trusted adviser and partner to anticipate risks and avoid them or, when necessary, enable a successful resolution of criminal liability issues and disputes.
Accordingly, we advise our clients in order to avoid or resolve issues of (potential) criminal liability before the liable conduct occurs, or before charges are brought. We represent both (alleged) offenders and victims of criminal offences during all phases of (criminal) investigations as well as in criminal and civil enforcement proceedings.
Our White Collar Crime practice collaborates consistently with other practice areas in our firm; we work closely with these specialised partners in areas such as finance, tax, environment, labour law, etc.
We represent clients in criminal litigation and offer assistance in a wide range of areas, such as:
insider trading and market abuse
corporate and tax fraud
public and private corruption
breach of environmental or health and safety regulations
criminal offences in violation of social security and employment legislation
improper accounting practices
other corporate and individual misconduct
We are regularly instructed in high-profile criminal tax cases before the Belgian courts and in negotiations with the tax authorities, including with respect to allegedly fraudulent tax-optimisation structures often involving foreign holding companies or trusts and official challenges in relation to invoicing.
We have special expertise in anti-money-laundering rules, which are increasingly cited by Belgian prosecutors in criminal cases. Several money-laundering cases have also been handled before the Supreme Court (Cour de Cassation/Hof van Cassatie).
We also frequently advise in criminal cases pursuant to environmental infringements, which are a priority in Belgium.
Furthermore, we have substantial experience in assisting financial institutions, both before criminal courts and before the FSMA, in cases of infringement of Belgian criminal law when offering financial products or services in Belgium.
Our expertise also includes assisting corporate clients in filing criminal complaints. We appear before both criminal and labour courts in cases involving, for instance, fraud by employees in the course of their work and industrial accidents. Such cases are often complex since they combine criminal and labour law aspects.
We are actively involved in settlement negotiations with the authorities and the public prosecutor’s office. Our firm assisted a client in achieving the first-ever settlement in Belgium with the public prosecutor, on the basis of the at-that-time newly-enacted law.
In the event of suspicions of irregularities within corporate clients’ business processes, we assist them with conducting internal audits and investigations.
We support companies with Risk Management in accordance with the saying “prevention is better than cure.”
We assist clients in implementing preventive measures and drafting internal policies, such as internal compliance plans. We also help them to set up and implement procedures aimed at promoting compliance and limiting risks.
We also provide company guidelines and top-down training on how to respond and what actions to take in case of unprecedented legal occurrences, such as a search of the premises.
We work with major Belgian and multinational companies across various industries, such as finance, automobile, petroleum, food, and telecom. We also advise and assist SMEs, high- profile individuals, non-profit entities, and public bodies.
Our lawyers are regularly invited to speak at seminars and publish consistently on topics relating to white-collar crime, anti-money laundering, or anti-corruption compliance.
We understand the importance of keeping our clients up-to-date and informed of key legal developments, so we publish newsletters and Legal Insights on a regular basis. We also organise dedicated information and training sessions on specific legal topics, such as criminal liability, discrimination and the powers of the social inspectorate, and the difference between the civil and criminal phase, or dawn raids. We also recently launched our LegalLie legal podcasts to address our clients’ questions.
Our White-Collar Crime & Compliance team collaborates regularly and works closely with partners from different practice groups within the firm. We are experienced in following cases all the way from the start of an investigation to the Supreme Court.
Assisting a multinational client involved as a suspect in a criminal investigation concerning infringements to waste legislation, helping them with preparing for all expected inquiries
Assisting and representing a slaughterhouse and meat processing company which is a suspect in a proceeding before the criminal court concerning infringements on (amongst others) legislation concerning hygiene, labelling, and animal welfare
Assisting an international bank in a criminal investigation focused on the bank and some of its clients for non-compliance with the Belgian anti-money laundering legislation
Assisting a real estate investment firm involved in a criminal investigation led by the public prosecutor, in particular, in obtaining the release of a construction site in one of its buildings
Assisting the CEO of an investment company being prosecuted for several offences, including amongst other matters the misuse of corporate assets and breach of trust
Assisting an American multinational automotive and clean energy company specialised in electric vehicles, in a case related to the permanent access to data filed in the cars’ memory
Assisting a real estate investor and operator in a criminal investigation concerning a severe accident on a construction site
Assisting a Belgian entrepreneur involved as suspect in a criminal case concerning a large-scale VAT fraud and money laundering
Assisting a leading European waste management company prosecuted because of infringements to the waste disposal regulations
Advising a Belgian foundation for the public interest on the potential criminal risks for itself and its employees if certain operations were carried out with a view to the return of art, stolen abroad by third parties
Drafting company guidelines for a client in the banking & investment sector on the do’s and don’ts in cases of dawn raids by the police
Drafting opinions concerning the Belgian legislation on public and private bribery
Advising a Belgian bank on all the potential risks (including applicable criminal sanctions) arising from depollution work on the premises of one of their bank sites, and assisting with the definition of a strategy to be followed for the depollution work
Assisting a federal ministry, who has likely been swindled by a goods supplier in the context of a procurement contract, through the criminal investigation that is being conducted against the suspects
Assisting a multinational client involved as a suspect in a criminal investigation concerning infringements to waste legislation, and helping them with preparing for all expected inquiries
Assisting a real estate investment firm involved in a criminal investigation led by the Public Prosecutor
Advising an American cloud computing company on the admissibility of its incentive programs with regard to the Belgian anti-bribery regulations
Awards & Recognition
Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick has a notable focus on anti-money laundering and environmental infringement litigation, its litigators collaborating regularly with regulatory experts in its wider practice teams. Other areas of strength for the firm include criminal tax litigation and employment disputes
Legal 500, Fraud & White Collar Crime, Tier 2, 2022
Magda Vandebotermet, ranked as Leading Individual
Margot Vandebeek, ranked as Rising Star
“At Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick, the fraud and compliance practice leverages its experience in corporate advisory and procedural matters from the financial, healthcare and environmental sectors”.
Legal 500, Fraud & White Collar Crime, Tier 2, 2021
“Liedekerke is recommended for its tax fraud and anti-money-laundering expertise. The firm is also strong in criminal labour and employment cases [...].”