Offences committed under insolvency law

Even though the number of insolvency proceedings has declined over recent years, the importance of insolvency criminal law has hardly abated. This may be primarily due to the fact that the insolvency courts now, by and large, meet their obligation to forward each insolvency case file to the prosecutor’s office for examination as to whether a criminal offence has been committed.

Section 15a (4) and (5) of the German Insolvency Act is the absolute “classic” among the criminal offences under insolvency law. This provision applies if filing for insolvency is delayed or omitted, whether intentionally or negligently. When defending against this allegation, the question whether grounds for insolvency existed, and at what point in time, is of paramount importance.

In addition, the insolvency offences covered by sections 283 et seq. of the Criminal Code also give rise to criminal investigations. Lastly, collateral insolvency offences also play a role. These offences entail, for example, the withholding and embezzling of social security contributions under section 266a of the Code or so-called fraud in treaty when ordering goods or services shortly before becoming insolvent.