Offences against property (Criminal Code)
A criminal investigation is usually not limited to just one offence. Often, several offences are included in the same investigation, such as forgery of documents (Section 225, Criminal Code), deception or embezzlement (Sections 326 and 321, Criminal Code), corruption (Section 328ter, Criminal Code), prejudicing creditors or entitled parties (Section 340 et seq., Criminal Code) And money laundering (Section 420bis et seq., Criminal Code). These offences are also referred to as ‘offences against property’.
Forgery of documents includes such matters as false or forged invoices or other documents, e.g. notes, memos, minutes or correspondence. In this connection, it’s important that Section 69, paragraph 4, of the General State Taxes Act (AWR) provides that prosecution under Section 225, paragraph 2, is excluded if prosecution based on tax offences is possible.
A suspicion based on deception or embezzlement is invoked where a company, director or employee is suspected of having disposed of money or goods. Sometimes, this suspicion is prompted by – alleged – false pretences or a structure of transactions or companies.
Corruption or bribery and prejudicing creditors or entitled parties are high on the Public Prosecution Service's and the FIOD's agendas, leading to many a criminal investigation. In the event of corruption, the investigation focuses on public servants or employees suspected of having accepted gifts, promises or services from entrepreneurs. In the event of prejudicing creditors or entitled parties, the investigation focuses on all kinds of alleged malpractices in relation to the bankruptcy in question. In such cases, there is often collaboration with various civil-law specialists, because the legal and factual context is often more subtle than the retrospective criminal-law interpretation of facts and events.
Finally, a suspicion of money laundering is included in almost every fraud case, in order to be able to investigate cash flows in more detail. A suspicion of money laundering also means that the Public Prosecutor will be able to seize real estate and assets with a view to the – possible – deprivation of any illegally obtained profits or advantages. Since such deprivation of illegally obtained profits or advantages is excluded in the event of prosecution based on tax offences (Section 74, General State Taxes Act (AWR)), the concurrence of money laundering and tax matters requires special attention.
In a nutshell
Offences against property:
- forgery of documents
- deception or embezzlement
- prejudicing creditors or entitled parties
- Money laundering
The Public Prosecution Service