Preventive Consulting & Compliance

Preventive Consulting & Compliance

Lawyer for Criminal Compliance and Preventive Advice on Criminal Law

We provide special expertise in the field of criminal compliance and preventive criminal law advice. One of our areas of expertise is examining facts and behaviour for their relevance under criminal law and, based on this, providing companies with the necessary recommendations to avoid the risk of criminal liability. We also support you in setting up or adapting your Compliance Management System.
Als Rechtsanwalt für Compliance bietet Dr. Elias Schönborn Rechtsberatung auf höchstem Niveau zu den Themen Criminal Compliance und strafrechtliche Präventivberatung

Compliance stands for comprehensive adherence to legal regulations and is of crucial importance in today’s business world. By implementing Criminal Compliance, companies and public institutions pursue the goal of preventing breaches of criminal law and thus reducing the risk of criminal proceedings. We support you in all matters relating to Criminal Compliance.

Customised Solutions

Just the fact that a criminal investigation is conducted can result in considerable burdens and serious reputational damage for companies and public institutions. Our preventive Criminal Law Advice and strategic measures are designed to identify risk factors at an early stage and minimise the likelihood of criminal offences. We know that there are no “standard solutions” when it comes to Compliance, because every company is unique. That is why we offer individual Risk Analyses and tailor-made Programmes.

Criminal Law Prevention for Companies

In practice, the buzzwords “anti-corruption” and “anti-fraud” often give rise to criminal law demarcation issues that are difficult for laypersons to grasp. In the complex legal environment of Commercial Criminal Law, we support you effectively in avoiding economic offences, Corruption and stumbling blocks in Medical Criminal Law. We help you to implement and adapt your Compliance Management System and evaluate important business decisions from a criminal law perspective. In doing so, we always take into account the special features of the Austrian Corporate Criminal Liability Act (VbVG) with regard to the prevention of criminal law risks and the response to suspected cases.

Compliance Lawyer

Dr. Elias Schönborn is not only an experienced defense lawyer in white-collar crime cases, but also a certified Compliance Officer. Thanks to his many years of experience in providing preventive and crisis-related advice to companies, he has a deep understanding of how criminal offences arise, where they frequently occur and what measures are required to prevent and investigate them. Dr. Schönborn’s expertise is evidenced not only by a large number of satisfied clients, but also by his extensive academic work on the topic of Criminal Compliance (see most recently Schönborn/Morwitzer, Praxishandbuch Criminal Compliance, 2023).

Our services at a glance:

  • Criminal Law Risk Analyses
  • Development of Compliance Codes of Conduct and Guidelines, particularly in the areas of Anti-Corruption and Anti-Fraud
  • Organisation of Employee Training Courses and Workshops
  • Compliance Audits to review existing programmes
  • Legal Opinions on criminal law compliance issues
  • Support in setting up a Whistleblower System and in the initial legal assessment of Tips from Whistleblowers 
  • Assistance with Internal Investigations
  • Defense in the context of Criminal Defense in Corporate Criminal Law

Our aim is to provide you with the best possible protection against legal risks and to establish a comprehensive compliance culture that not only fulfils legal requirements, but also strengthens the trust of your business partners, customers and employees.


  • 1. What are the advantages of Criminal Compliance measures?

    Compliance measures have a positive preventive effect and contribute to reduce the risk of criminal proceedings being initiated. In addition to legal aspects, compliance instruments are also worthwhile from an economic perspective: According to international surveys such as the ACFE's Occupational Fraud 2022 report, companies that have introduced written compliance guidelines such as anti-fraud policies or codes of conduct suffer around 40% less financial damage as a result of white-collar crime compared to companies without such guidelines.
  • 2. A criminal investigation has been initiated against my company. Does Compliance help me here?

    Yes, in the course of Criminal Defense it is advisable to proactively shape the proceedings as early as possible and to submit written statements and motions for evidence and to prepare well for interrogations. Compliance precautions should also be demonstrated by submitting documents during the proceedings. Compliance measures can constitute a significant mitigating factor in the assessment of penalties under the Austrian Corporate Criminal Liability Act (VbVG). Conversely, in practice, it is considered an aggravating factor in sentencing if the organization has not taken any compliance measures. It is important that compliance precautions are taken into account when assessing penalties both before and after the offence has been committed. It is therefore worth taking appropriate compliance precautions even after criminal investigation proceedings have been initiated and proving that the company has taken significant steps to prevent similar offences in the future.
  • 3. Is it possible for Compliance measures to end the criminal proceedings at the investigation stage?

    Yes, in addition to the possibility of a diversionary settlement and dismissal, in corporate criminal proceedings, the public prosecutor's office's discretionary power under Sec 18 VbVG is of practical significance. The public prosecutor's office can decide at its discretion, whether to (further) prosecute the association or withdraw from the prosecution. In practice, compliance measures such as the preparation of codes of conduct, reports on internal investigations and employee training are important points that are taken into account by the public prosecutor's office when deciding whether to withdraw from the prosecution. It is therefore worthwhile initiating appropriate compliance precautions quickly.
  • 4. When is it advisable to seek advice from a lawyer specializing in Criminal Compliance?

    Legal advice from a lawyer with expertise in Criminal Compliance is advisable if difficult legal questions arise within the company regarding the permissibility of certain conduct. Furthermore, a lawyer can also provide support in examining suspicious actions or take preventive measures to avoid compliance violations. In addition, a specialised lawyer can support companies in internal investigations and uncover liability risks at an early stage. In general, legal advice on all questions in connection with compliance-relevant issues is conceivable and, above all, useful in order to eliminate uncertainties regarding criminal law risks through clarification and to ensure the security of compliance processes within companies.

Do you need support in the area of Compliance?

Contact us.