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Thought Leaders

Thought Leaders

Ilias Anagnostopoulos

Ilias Anagnostopoulos

Anagnostopoulos6 Patriarchou Ioakeim Str.AthensGreece10674

Thought Leader

WWL says

Ilias Anagnostopoulos is “the go-to lawyer in Greece” for the full range of business crime and risk management issues.

Questions & Answers

Ilias has represented corporates and individuals across multiple jurisdictions over the past 30 years. He focuses on complex matters involving financial crimes, corrupt and anticompetitive practices, tax and money laundering offences, extradition and mutual assistance requests. He is chair of the Hellenic Criminal Bar Association (2013–) and former chair of the of the CCBE criminal law committee (2006–2013). He is a professor of criminal law and procedure at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, and a member of the Ministry of Justice experts committee and the High-Legal Council with the Bank of Greece.

How are things different now in the field of business crime defence to when you were  starting out?

I started focusing on business crime at a time when the practice area was not mainstream for criminal practitioners. I was attracted by the complex nature and cross-border aspects of these cases, which call for a multifaceted and highly sophisticated defence strategy. Business crime defence is now considered a most attractive area for practitioners who would like to excel in a demanding environment.

What challenges did you face  when starting up your own boutique firm?

Our aim was to establish our firm as a high-end specialist practice combining sophisticated advice with forceful litigation in one of the most challenging areas. We had to persuade the market that we are in a much better position than traditional criminal practitioners and/or larger general practice firms to manage criminal and regulatory risks and offer creative and practical solutions.

What do clients look for in an effective business crime defence lawyer?

Clients are keen to receive timely and competent advice in the current risk-inflated environment. They seek carefully designed solutions which integrate all relevant aspects of their global businesses. And when it comes to litigation, they need skilful trial lawyers who command respect in the courtroom.

What are the main challenges for enforcement agencies in your jurisdiction and why?

Enforcement agencies face significant challenges. They are confronted with sophisticated schemes of unlawful conduct which they to try to tackle with sometimes insufficient resources. Public and/or political pressure may lead enforcement agencies to prioritise efficiency over the protection of those affected by their aggressive tactics. There is an urgent need to strike the right balance between the quest for efficiency and due process guarantees.

What challenges do you foresee arising out of covid-19, that may affect your practice and the white-collar-crime market more broadly?

Covid-19 will deeply impact the economy and most aspects of our everyday life. The pandemic’s long-term consequences are yet to be assessed. We may expect significant changes in the white-collar world which will follow the new trends especially in the financial markets. Practitioners in the business crime area are called to understand the new realities and respond to emerging needs of their clients. Flexibility, creativity and talent will be in high demand.

How efficient are virtual proceedings such as remote interviews and hearings?

Virtual proceedings are useful and offer practical alternatives in difficult times such as the current virus crisis. However, they are no substitute for face-to- face trial hearings. Confrontation of witnesses, illuminating opening statements or powerful closing arguments cannot be delivered virtually. Nothing can replace a courtroom drama featuring real heroes who fight for the truth.

As managing partner, what are your main priorities for the firm’s development in the next few years?

We will strengthen our firm’s position as a leader in all aspects of criminal risk management and white-collar crime litigation. One of our priorities is to use cutting-edge technology to ensure high-value services to our clients, both corporates and individuals. Also, we will focus on the new generation of our people promoting diversity, innovation, creativity, and individual talents.

What has been your greatest achievement to date?

Looking back on my 30 years in criminal practice I am proud of defending corporates and individuals and protecting their reputation against unfair or excessive allegations; and it gives me great pleasure to see how grateful they are for helping them navigate through troubled waters.

WWL says

Ilias Anagnostopoulos impresses market sources with his profound insights into the business crime space, with a substantial 25 years of experience. 

Questions & Answers

Ilias has advised and represented corporates and individuals in prominent cases throughout multiple jurisdictions in the past three decades. His practice focuses on complex matters involving financial fraud, corrupt and anti-competitive practices, tax and money laundering offences, extradition and mutual assistance requests. As a legal expert, he regularly offers opinions in domestic and foreign jurisdictions. Since 2013, Ilias has chaired the Hellenic Criminal Bar Association, and from 2006 to 2013, he chaired the criminal law committee of the Council of the Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE). He is a professor in criminal law and criminal procedure at the School of Law, National  and Kapodistrian University of Athens.

What motivated you to pursue a legal career?

My first inspiration was my father, George, who was a forceful litigator commanding respect in the courtroom. Already from my teens I was thrilled by the criminal trial drama and decided that this would my favourite area in which to pursue a legal career. 

You have previously argued in favour of the changes in the new Greek Criminal Code. Are there any notable changes in Greek enforcement as a result of the Code?

Indeed, I was a member of the Law Commission (2015–2019) on the new Greek Criminal Code, which entered into force in July 2019. The new Code has changed the legal landscape, prioritising  more proportionate, but no less efficient, criminal enforcement. Though it is too early to evaluate the Code’s overall impact, the feedback has been positive so far. 

Do you foresee Greece playing a larger role in international anti-bribery investigations and enforcement?

Anti-bribery investigations and enforcement in Greece are on the rise. As the country recovers from a long period of economic recession, it is increasingly targeted by global players for big-scale investment projects in various sectors. In parallel, there is a systematic effort to strengthen the available legal instruments to tackle sophisticated corrupt practices. As a result, it is expected that Greece’s role in global anti-bribery will become more important in the coming years. 

You represent an individual in a landmark bribery trial in Greece following on from investigations in the US and the UK. What developments in Greece should foreign lawyers be following?

There are currently a number of ongoing bribery investigations in Greece that target global corporates or their Greek subsidiaries. Depending on the outcome of these investigations and their parallel procedures in other jurisdictions, we might see a surge in trial hearings or alternative resolutions in this area. Such a development would require trans-jurisdictional cooperation between practitioners who have the knowledge and the skills to handle them. 

An increasing number of countries are getting more active in investigating allegations of corporate misconduct. What are the main challenges for companies in your jurisdiction who face multinational investigations? 

Companies in this jurisdiction must respond to serious challenges when they are facing multinational investigations. The substantial differences in the legal systems of the countries involved are a permanent source of problems; what might seem an advantageous resolution in one jurisdiction can have devastating consequences in another. Diverging evidence rules, incompatible corporate and individual liability schemes, and conflicting tax regimes must be carefully assessed within an integrated cross-border strategy. 

Should more be done to regulate internal investigations?

Absolutely. Internal investigations have become an area of cardinal importance for both corporates and individuals. However, it is still a rather “wild” area, as it remains largely unregulated. There is an urgent need to establish common standards and transparent procedures, which will serve the companies’ interests but also protect affected individuals from unfair exposure to criminal or other risks. 

How would you assess the measures taken to increase efficiency of investigations?

Efficiency of investigations is being given an absolute priority on the global enforcement agenda. Though an increase in efficiency is, in principle, welcome, it should not be pursued at the cost of long-cherished values of our liberal-democratic societies. Fundamental rights of individuals must be vigorously defended against aggressive and over-intrusive state tactics. 

What advice would you give to lawyers hoping to one day be in your position?

In today’s risk-inflated environment, white-collar crime lawyers are called to take the role of legal architects. They must design safe shelters for their clients and protect them from unfair prosecutions in multiple jurisdictions. This is a complex mandate that requires intellectual strength, hard work, great courage and a vision. 

Global Leader

WWL Ranking: Recommended
WWL Ranking: Global Elite Thought Leader

WWL says

Ilias Anagnostopoulos is “the go-to lawyer in Greece” for the full range of business crime and risk management issues.

Biography

Ilias Anagnostopoulos heads Athens-based law firm Anagnostopoulos, focusing on criminal and regulatory risk management and all aspects of business crime defence. He has appeared as lead counsel in most significant cases in Greece during the past 25 years including business and financial fraud, healthcare fraud, tax and customs fraud, money laundering, anticompetitive practices, corrupt practices, corporate criminal liability and compliance procedures, anti-terrorism, product criminal liability, environmental offences, medical malpractice, art crimes, mutual assistance, extradition and surrender procedures. He advises leading multinational and domestic corporations, sovereign entities, government organisations and individuals from the energy, defence, aviation, shipping, automotive, construction, financial services, raw materials, pharmaceuticals, food, healthcare, tobacco, telecommunications, travel and leisure, and media sectors. As a legal expert, he regularly offers opinions in Greek and foreign jurisdictions.

Ilias studied at the School of Law, National University of Athens (1978); and the University of Frankfurt am Main, Germany (Dr juris, 1983). He is a professor in criminal law and criminal procedure at the School of Law, National University of Athens, and has published extensively in Greek, English and German on matters of Greek, European and international criminal law, business crime, financial crime, reform of criminal procedure and human rights. His work includes several prominent books, chapters and articles.

Memberships include the Hellenic Criminal Bar Association (chairman), the criminal law committee of the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (chairman 2007–2013), the criminal law experts committee of the Hellenic Ministry of Justice, the High Legal Council of the Bank of Greece, ICC-FraudNet, the European Criminal Bar Association (founder member) and the International Association of Penal Law.

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Ilias Anagnostopoulos is a foremost litigator and a top name in the region for risk management and criminal defence proceedings. 

Biography

Ilias Anagnostopoulos heads Athens-based law firm Anagnostopoulos, focusing on criminal and regulatory risk management and all aspects of business crime defence. He has appeared as lead counsel in most significant cases in Greece during the past 25 years including business and financial fraud, healthcare fraud, tax and customs fraud, money laundering, anticompetitive practices, corrupt practices, corporate criminal liability and compliance procedures, anti-terrorism, product criminal liability, environmental offences, medical malpractice, art crimes, mutual assistance, extradition and surrender procedures. He advises leading multinational and domestic corporations, sovereign entities, government organisations and individuals from the energy, defence, aviation, shipping, automotive, construction, financial services, raw materials, pharmaceuticals, food, healthcare, tobacco, telecommunications, travel and leisure, and media sectors. As a legal expert, he regularly offers opinions in Greek and foreign jurisdictions.

Ilias studied at the School of Law, National University of Athens (1978); and the University of Frankfurt am Main, Germany (Dr juris, 1983). He is a professor in criminal law and criminal procedure at the School of Law, National University of Athens, and has published extensively in Greek, English and German on matters of Greek, European and international criminal law, business crime, financial crime, reform of criminal procedure and human rights. His work includes several prominent books, chapters and articles.

Memberships include the Hellenic Criminal Bar Association (chairman), the criminal law committee of the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (chairman 2007–2013), the criminal law experts committee of the Hellenic Ministry of Justice, the High Legal Council of the Bank of Greece, ICC-FraudNet, the European Criminal Bar Association (founder member) and the International Association of Penal Law.

WWL Ranking: Recommended
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