Public Corruption

Public Corruption


Public corruption is dishonest behaviour by those in positions of power in the public sector, such as government officials. Corruption may include:

  • Receiving or accepting bribes.
  • Embezzlement
  • Under-the-table transactions in the framework of public procurement of products, services or public works.
  • Misappropriation of public property.
  • Breach of duty

All funds transferred in the framework of the above activities are considered as product of money laundering.


Bribery

Bribery is the offer or acceptance of anything of value in exchange for favourable treatment by a government/public official or employee, such as awards of government contracts in the framework of public procurement of products, services or public works. 

Embezzlement

Embezzlement is a form of white-collar crime wherein a person misappropriates the assets entrusted to him. The offender is given lawful possession of the property in question before incorporating the property to his personal assets. Embezzlement may be committed against both private individuals or entities and against the State or Public Authorities and Institutions.

Misappropriation of funds

Misappropriation of funds consists of acts by an authorized official resulting in loss of State or private funds by awarding a subsidy, grant or exemption in favour of a person who has no right to such a decision. Misappropriation of funds is a charge present in every public corruption case jointly with other charges like bribery etc.

Breach of duty

Breach of duty is an offence committed by a State officer who, in order to illegally receive benefits or harm the State, breaches the duties of his office. It is an offense usually concurrent with other forms of criminal behaviour or misconduct by State officers. 

Private and Corporate White-Collar Crime

Private and Corporate White-Collar Crime


White-collar crime refers to financially motivated, nonviolent crime committed by professionals and corporations. It is characterized by deceit, concealment, or violation of trust and which is not dependent upon the application or threat of physical force or violence. According to the type of offence, various cases are classified as property crime, economic crime and other corporate crimes like environmental law violations. Typical categories are money laundering, tax crimes, fraud, bank fraud, stock fraud, market manipulation, Ponzi schemes, insider trading, bribery, embezzlement, forgery and copyright infringement.

Money Laundering

Money laundering is the process of concealing the origins of illegally obtained money. Such concealment may extend from simply creating the appearance that illegally obtained money originated from a legitimate source to complex schemes of transactions involving off-shore jurisdictions. The purpose of concealment may extend from tax evasion to the funding of serious criminal activities.

Money laundering is a charge present in most public corruption cases jointly with other charges like bribery etc.

In cases where we represent the complainant (those who pursue alleged offenders),the money laundering legislation provides us with powerful tools for the revelation of concealed assets of our opponents globally, in order to secure -through their seizure- our clients’ claims either locally or internationally.

Respectively, in cases where we represent the defendant (those investigated by the authorities as suspects or accused of committing unlawful acts) we work for the reversal of restrictive measures on bank accounts, suspension of bank privacy etc. and the release of seized assets.

Tax- Tax evasion – Tax planning

Tax fraud and tax evasion encompass cases where the taxpayer or company intentionally defrauds the government by not paying taxes that are lawfully due.

Tax evasion in particular occurs when the taxpayer deliberately misrepresents taxable income, overstates expenses and deductions, fails to file tax returns etc.

Tax planning is the lawful arrangement of financial or commercial activity so that tax obligations are measured, predictable and minimised.

Embezzlement

Embezzlement is a form of white-collar crime wherein a person misappropriates the assets entrusted to him. The offender is given lawful possession of the property in question before incorporating the property to his personal assets. Embezzlement may be committed against both private individuals or corporations and against the State or Public Authorities and Institutions.

Forgery of documents

Forgery of documents is an offence that consists of false creation or alteration of a document with the specific intent to defraud the recipient. There is a variety of types of falsifying documents that involves making, altering, or modifying a document for the purpose of deception.

Bribery

Bribery is the offer or acceptance of anything of value in exchange for favourable treatment bya government/public official or employee, such as awards of government contracts in the framework of public procurement of products, services or public works. 

Insider trading

Insider trading is the practice of using information that has not been made public to execute trading decisions giving traders an unfair advantage over others. Most forms of insider trading are illegal.

Market manipulation

Market manipulation refers to any attempt to interfere with the normal free operation of the market and to create an artificial market for a security, currency, or commodity. Examples of market manipulation may include stock-market manipulation, index manipulation etc.

Fraud

Fraud


Fraud in general involves the deceptive representation of facts either by intentionally withholding important information or by providing false statements with the purpose of acquiring unlawful gain. It may arise in commercial relations, finance, real estate, investment etc. Particular types of fraud include bank fraud, stock fraud, corporate fraud, Ponzi schemes, mortgage fraud etc.

Bank Fraud

Can be defined as an unethical and/or criminal act by an individual or organization to illegally attempt to possess or receive money from a bank or financial institution either directly or by abusing the bank’s reputation to deceptively gain profits from individuals, potential investors etc.

Stock Fraud

Stock and investment fraud is a deceptive practice in the stock or commodities markets that induces investors to make purchase or sale decisions on the basis of false information. It involves criminal liability of companies’ officers towards shareholders and investors and concerns stocks regardless of whether they are traded in the stock market or not.

Corporate Fraud

Corporate fraud consists of activities undertaken by an individual or company that are done in a dishonest or illegal manner and are designed to give an advantage to the perpetrating individual or company. For example the falsification of financial information, self-dealing by corporate insiders etc.

Ponzi Schemes

A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment scam promising high rates of return with little risk to investors. A Ponzi scheme generates returns for older investors by acquiring new investors and using the new investors’ capital for the older investors’ returns. This is similar to a pyramid scheme in that both are based on using new participants to pay earlier participants.

Intellectual Property Infringements

Intellectual Property Infringements


This is the usage of an entity’s trademarks, brands or copyright without the owner’s authorization. Our firm has decades of tradition and top reputation in successfully handling such cases.

Copyright 

Copyright is a set of rights vested to the creator of an original work, such as a book, an article, song, photograph etc. These rights include the right to reproduce the work, to prepare derivative works, to distribute copies, to display and perform the work publicly etc. The author of the work may transfer his rights, or part of them through licensing, assigning, and other legal formulas. The use of works protected by copyright law without permission may constitute an infringement against which copyright holders have significant legal and technological measures at their disposal in order to prevent and criminally pursue such behaviour.

Trademarks

A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods or services of a certain party from those of others. Examples include brand names, slogans, and logos. Trademark infringement is the unauthorized use of a trademark, or a substantially similar one, on competing or related goods and services. Likelihood of consumer confusion is the criterion on whether there has been an infringement. 

Patents

Patents are inventions, such as machines, manufactures, compositions of matter or processes. Certain computer programs may fall within the subject matter protected by both patents and copyrights. Patent law protects inventors by granting them exclusive rights, comprising of rights to prevent others from manufacturing, selling, using or importing the patented invention.

Designs

The appearance of a product, in particular the shape, texture, colour, materials used, ornamentation etc. are characteristics that can qualify as “designs”. Protection may fall under copyright law, unregistered design rights or registered designs law.

Cybercrime

Cybercrime


Cybercrime is a crime that involves computers and networks. Computers and networks may have been used as means to commit the crime or may be the target. The motive is to intentionally harm the reputation of the victim or cause physical or mental harm or loss to the victim directly or indirectly using modern telecommunication networks such as Internet and mobile phones. In particular, computer fraud is any dishonest misrepresentation of fact intended to lead a person to do or refrain from doing something which causes loss.

Internet fraud

Internet fraud is a general term used to describe any type of fraud which makes use of Internet services or software with Internet access. The methods used by perpetrators to defraud potential victims are numerous and may involve: Credit card fraud, internet auction fraud, investment fraud, non-delivery of merchandise, gambling fraud, identity theft, phishing etc.

Phishing

Phishing is a cybercrime in which targets are contacted by email, telephone or text message by someone pretending to represent a legitimate institution, aiming to lure individuals into providing sensitive data, such as personally identifiable information, banking and credit card details and passwords. Users are often lured by communications purporting to be from trusted parties such as social web sites, auction sites, banks, online payment processors or IT administrators. The information is then used to access important accounts and can result in identity theft and financial loss.

Cryptocurrency scam

Cryptocurrencies are digital assets designed to function as media of exchange using strong cryptography to secure financial transactions, control the creation of additional units and verify the transfer of assets. Cryptocurrencies are thus a kind of alternative, digital currencies. Decentralized control is used, as opposed to centralized digital currency and central banking systems. Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency to be released in 2009 and since the thousands of others have been created (Ethereum, Litecoin, Monero etc.). Explosive popularity of cryptocurrencies in combination with hope for large profits and incomplete knowledge and due diligence on the part of potential investors is the cause of serious incidents of cryptocurrency scam. Cryptocurrency hacks, pyramids, Ponzi schemes, pump and dump (price manipulation) schemes, fraudulent Initial Coin Offerings and other deceptive means are used to lure investors into loosing large amounts of assets.

Cryptocurrencies used for money-laundering

Cryptocurrencies are not regulated by central banks but are held digitally via electronic identities that in many cases allow their owners to remain anonymous. Because of the semi-anonymous and decentralized nature of cryptocurrencies, there is fear that certain platforms could be used for money laundering. Among jurisdictions there are various approaches and opinions regarding the extent of regulation of cryptocurrencies.

Ransomware

Ransomware is malicious software that threatens to publish the victim's data or block access to it unless ransom is paid. In serious cases of ransomware, advanced cryptoviral malware is used which encrypts the victim's files, making them inaccessible, while the perpetrators demand a ransom payment to decrypt them. In such cases, regaining access to the victim’s data is rendered impossible while cryptocurrencies are used for the payment of ransom, making tracing and prosecuting the perpetrators very difficult. In the recent years ransomware scams have tremendously grown internationally.

Hacking

Hacking generally refers to unauthorized intrusion into a computer or a network. The person engaged in hacking activities is known as a hacker. This hacker may alter system or security features to accomplish a goal that differs from the original purpose of the system. Hackers employ a variety of techniques for hacking, including: Recovering passwords from data stored or transmitted by computer systems, capturing data packets in order to view data and passwords in transit over networks, setting up websites which falsify data by mimicking legitimate sites and are therefore treated as trusted sites by users or other programs, planting a trojan horse or another type of virus. The motives of a hacking attack could vary from illegitimate financial gain, in cases of credit card fraud, manipulating banking systems or corporate espionage to personal motives such as vandalizing.



Liability of 
Companies' Officers

Liability of 
Companies' Officers


Corporate directors, officers and employees can be held criminally liable for any criminal acts that they personally commit within the scope of their duties. State authorities, regulators, shareholders and third parties, such as consumers and suppliers scrutinize corporate conduct putting corporate directors, officers and employees in a high-risk position as regards sanctions. Corporate officers may be held accountable for misconduct of the corporate entity against the State, public interest or third parties. They may also be held accountable for wrongdoings against the corporate entity itself or its shareholders. They may also be held criminally responsible for criminal acts committed by their agents, or for any crime that they aid and abet. The tightening of relevant legislation and aggressive government enforcement is today’s reality. This complex set of cases is effectively handled by our specialized departments often in cooperation.

Liability towards the State and Regulating Authorities

Corporate conduct is nowadays strictly monitored by:

Government Authorities such as Tax Authorities, specialized Units of the Police, Social Welfare Funds, Financial Crime Units, Anti-Money Laundering Units, Local Government, Environmental Protection Authorities etc.

Sectoral Regulating Authorities such as Central Banks, Stock Exchange Regulators, Insurance Market Regulators, Mass Media Regulators etc.

Liability towards third parties

Corporate directors, officers and employees can be held criminally liable for any criminal acts of the corporate entity, which in itself cannot be a subject of criminal sanctions. Corporate agents in general are held criminally liable for the misdeeds of the corporation towards consumers, investors, traders, suppliers and affected citizens of the community in general, according to the scope of their duties. Liability may cover the whole spectrum of criminal law including acts like fraud, embezzlement, forging of documents, bribery, money laundering etc.

Liability towards the Corporation or Shareholders

Corporate directors, officers and employees may also be held criminally liable towards the corporation itself or its shareholders in cases of loss of corporate funds in favour of a person who has no right to such. These cases may constitute breach of trust or misappropriation of funds.