Compliance officers in companies have to face new risks: in a fundamental decision the Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof, BGH) has highlighted the position of compliance officers in companies and has clarified under which circumstances they may render themselves liable to prosecution if employees commit an offense (decision of 17 July 2009 – 5 StR 394/08). This decision is remarkable as it is the first time that Germany’s highest court outlines the duties of compliance officers under criminal law – and in doing so imposes far-reaching obligations.

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