GIR 100 2022

Hengeler Mueller

Hengeler Mueller

Professional notice

Hengeler Mueller is a go-to investigations firm for institutional clients with complex cross-border problems.

The firm

Hengeler Mueller, a full-service firm of approximately 300 lawyers and 88 partners, built its reputation in Germany's financial sector, providing advice on corporate transactions across offices in Berlin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Munich, Brussels and London. Fuelled by the events of the 2008 financial crisis the firm created its internal investigations, crisis management and compliance practice group.

The firm names 11 partners in its core practice group, who work on a range of internal investigations, crisis management and compliance issues, and can rely on support from the wider firm

Hengeler Mueller's core team includes partner Sven Schneider in Frankfurt, a dual German and US-qualified lawyer who advised Deutsche Bank on the major US investigation into alleged Libor and Euribor manipulation.

In Berlin, partner Wolfgang Spoerr specialises in defending companies in investigations by US and German enforcement agencies, while partner Johanna Wirth has recently handled several complex cross-border investigations, as well as an internal investigation for a DAX 30-listed company into allegations of fraud and misleading financial disclosures. Fellow Berliner Fabian Quast has represented clients in cross-border investigations spanning Asia, the US and Latin America.

In Düsseldorf, partner Vera Jungkind advises German and international companies on a range of white-collar matters but specialises in trade and data protection issues. In the same office, partner Dirk Uwer advises businesses on regulatory compliance and has worked on cross border investigations related to alleged tax evasion.

The firm promoted Constantin Lauterwein in Berlin to partner in July 2020. Lauterwein has represented financial institutions in matters concerning US sanctions on Iran, North Korea and Cuba, as well as in money laundering investigations. Earlier that year, it promoted Markus Ernst, who focuses on tax issues.

Recent events

The firm is acting as lead counsel for German lender bank Grenke, in internal and external investigations by the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) among other agencies. The matter concerns negative public representations by a short seller.

The firm is representing a European bank in investigations into cum-ex tax trades. Cum-ex trades are complex dividend-stripping transactions that are estimated to have cost European countries billions of euros in unpaid taxes. While many countries are investigating the trades, German authorities' probes are the most advanced, with prosecutors searching several major banks earlier this year.

The firm also acts for companies under investigation by authorities outside of Germany.

After Brazil's Brumadinho dam disaster in 2019, the dam's supervisor, German company TÜV SÜD, hired a Hengeler Mueller team led by partners Daniel Weiß and Daniel Engel to investigate the tragedy alongside Brazil's Pinheiro Neto Advogados and Germany's Pohlmann & Company.

The firm acts for individuals too, and recently resolved a market manipulation investigation by the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) into a UK-based high frequency trader. The trader entered into a non-public settlement with the regulator at an early stage of the probe.


The firm has offices in Berlin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Munich, Brussels and London. The firm is a member of the “best friends” group of law firms that includes Slaughter and May in the UK and De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek in the Netherlands. The firm has also worked closely with large US law firms on a number of cases.


Hengeler Mueller serves major banks, retail groups and manufacturing companies, including Bosch, Japanese building materials manufacturer Lixil, Japanese automotive component manufacturer Calsonic and German wholesalers such as Metro.

Apart from multinational companies, the firm also advises small and medium-sized enterprises on compliance issues.

Track record

In 2017, Sven Schneider represented the UK subsidiary of Deutsche Bank in its April 2017 US$2.5 billion settlement for manipulating Libor. Deutsche Bank and its subsidiary, DB Group Services, pleaded guilty to wire fraud and agreed to pay US$775 million in criminal fines to the US Department of Justice. Deutsche Bank agreed to pay US$600 million in fines to the New York Department of Financial Services and a further US$800 million to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to settle the matter. The German bank also agreed to pay US$334 million to the Financial Conduct Authority to resolve UK charges.

The firm further represented Deutsche Bank on a number of internal and external investigations related to manipulation of reference rates, and possible breaches of US export control laws.

Hengeler Mueller acted for technology supplier Bosch in 2019 when the company agreed to pay a €90 million fine to settle an investigation by the Stuttgart Public Prosecutor's Office into the diesel emissions scandal. Bosch manufactured and delivered 17 million engine control units that went into vehicles that were able to cheat laboratory tests for exhaust emissions.

Hengeler Mueller is an international full-service law firm with offices in Berlin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Munich, Brussels and London. With more than 300 lawyers, including 90 partners, the firm specialises in high-end legal advice in complex business transactions, disputes and special situations. Hengeler Mueller’s clients include large corporates as well as leading investors and family-owned enterprises in Europe and worldwide.

Our Internal Investigations, Crisis Management and Compliance practice group is one of the leading compliance and investigations practices in Germany/Europe. We are involved in complex compliance matters around the world and regularly work with law enforcement and administrative authorities on behalf of our clients. We believe in providing uncompromisingly high-quality advice and striving to deliver tailored solutions.

Your expert advisors for preventative compliance and crisis situations

We provide advice worldwide in all relevant legal areas of risk. Our compliance practice efficiently combines expert knowledge in all relevant legal areas in all major industries. We assist in developing and implementing group-wide compliance programmes to reduce breaches of law and liability risks. We provide advice on governance and preventative compliance to companies and their boards. We assist our clients in avoiding and minimising any consequences under criminal, supervisory, corporate and civil law.

In crisis situations, we assist and support companies with an investigation team that acts strategically in its approach and pragmatically in the implementation. In order to avoid a ‘loss of control’, we closely and continually coordinate the investigation, cooperation and defence strategy as well as the project management and the time schedule with the relevant in-house team. We ensure an appeal-proof and independent organisational and operational structure of the investigation. In addition we act as representative on all issues to internal and external stakeholders.

Technology – eDiscovery services and tools

Efficiently analysing large volumes of data and swiftly identifying complex facts have been key elements for providing our first-class legal advice. We have been offering fully integrated eDiscovery services and project management for many years. Based on our clients' specific needs, we set up a team that is best-suited for the project, applying on-premises eDiscovery tools hosted on our own servers in Germany. We offer our clients excellent one-stop-shop legal advice pairedwith optimally customised fact-finding solutions and efficient project management.

Our international approach

We make full use of a distinctive international network that covers all major jurisdictions worldwide. Our partner law firms are deeply rooted in their respective legal systems, markets and local cultures. All of them share our commitment to providing quality and efficiency. Hengeler Mueller is part of the Best Friends network comprising six renowned law firms across Europe.

Your added value

Through our experience in coordinating complex and multi-jurisdictional investigations we are familiar with and understand the priorities and unique interests of various stakeholders. Our aim is to structure and conduct each internal investigation as smoothly and efficiently as possible in orderto avoid any unwanted publicity or attention. We want to establish long-term relationships with our clients in all practice areas rather than generate short-term profits; this principle is promoted by our internal profit allocation which is based on a genuine lockstep system.


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