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Crimes related to subsidies

The lawyers of ECKSTEIN & KOLLEGEN in Munich advise, defend and represent individuals and companies against all allegations that may arise in connection with subsidies, including and in particular the accusation of subsidy fraud. This offence is separately regulated in the Criminal Code (Section 264 StGB), and is supplemented by the “Law against Misuse of Subsidies” (Subsidies Act).

In principle, only subsidies that serve to promote the economy are affected by the regulations. These include, for example, investment subsidies and the high-profile emergency aid granted during the Covid pandemic.

In the case of subsidy fraud, criminal liability is shifted forward in such a way that even an attempt to obtain unauthorized funds by making false statements or concealing facts leads to criminal liability under Section 264 of the Criminal Code (StGB). It is irrelevant whether the subsidy provider was already aware of the true facts or whether a subsidy is actually granted in the further course of events.

The crime of subsidy fraud is becoming increasingly important, especially because the state has increasingly placed the responsibility for verifying the conditions for granting subsidies in the hands of the beneficiaries or so-called “auditing third parties” (e.g. tax advisors, auditors). This is especially true for mass subsidies. The most prominent example here is probably also the emergency aid granted during the Covid pandemic.

The procedure leading up to the payment of the subsidies was undoubtedly able to be accelerated significantly in this way. However, a shift in audit responsibility goes hand-in-hand with a significant increase in legal uncertainty for the beneficiaries and, above all, the auditing third parties. In addition to the risk of reclaiming funds, the parties involved may also face criminal prosecution for subsidy fraud, in particular if doubts arise as to the accuracy of the information provided in the application. In view of the subsidy amounts and the considerable legal threat of punishment, these are risks that are regularly of existential importance to those affected.

ECKSTEIN & KOLLEGEN lawyers defend against allegations in the context of subsidies at all stages of the proceedings.