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Ilias Anagnostopoulos

Ilias Anagnostopoulos

Anagnostopoulos6 Patriarchou Ioakeim Str.AthensGreece10674
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Thought Leader

Questions & Answers

Ilias has advised and represented corporates and individuals in prominent cases through 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 University of Athens.

How has business crime defence changed since you started your career?

I started my career at a time when business crime defence was not mainstream for criminal practitioners. This practice area has since flourished. In today’s overregulated business world, criminal liability for corporates and individuals has become collateral damage of global business. Management of criminal risks and protection of the client’s interests requires a timely and carefully designed defence strategy.     

What do you enjoy most about working in this practice area?

Working as a business crime defence lawyer is an excellent opportunity to continuously develop and test your skills in a most demanding environment. Clients are often high-calibre professionals who will reward you for the quality of your services.      

What qualities do you need to succeed as a practitioner in business crime law?

A successful career in this area requires an in-depth knowledge of the business realities and a strong devotion to the client’s case. Efficient cooperation with in-house counsel and specialists in other areas (both lawyers and other professionals) is essential. Proactive advice and effective litigation are equally important.

You have a lot of international clients. What is the most challenging aspect of representing these clients in Greece?

International clients need to fully understand and familiarise themselves with the laws and the culture of the relevant jurisdiction. This is not an easy task for the lawyers representing them, given the substantial differences in the legal and judicial systems around the world.        

Some of your cases are highly politicised. What are the consequences of this from a practitioner’s point of view?

Highly politicised cases are extremely demanding. They call for an integrated defence strategy to effectively address multiple challenges on various levels. Ensuring judicial independence and protecting the proceedings from populist-political contamination are of the utmost importance. In parallel, careful use of the media may be vital to communicate the client’s position to the “court of public opinion”.

How can the integrity of proceedings be protected against the effects of politicisation?

Sticking to the fair trial rules seems to be a most efficient recipe against the undesirable effects of politicisation. It is especially the presumption of innocence as a pillar of liberal societies that needs to prevail. Those who try to undermine the integrity of the proceedings – inside or outside the courtroom – through politics must be repelled by using all available legal tools.

What has been your greatest achievement to date?

Giving back freedom to clients unduly entangled into criminal proceedings.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in business crime defence?

It requires hard work, self-discipline, taking on new challenges, refining communication skills, reinventing yourself, and an open mind.

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

WWL says

Ilias Anagnostopoulos is “an excellent lawyer” who stands out as the foremost white-collar expert in the country.

Questions & Answers

Ilias has advised and represented corporates and individuals in prominent cases through 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.

HOW DOES YOUR WORK AS A PROFESSOR ENHANCE YOUR WORK IN PRIVATE PRACTICE?

During my studies I was fascinated by criminal law as an academic course. In parallel, I was captured by the courtroom drama while accompanying my father, a forceful litigator, into trial hearings. This dual affection has defined my career ever since. Lecturing at the School of Law and directly communicating with the upcoming generations of jurists is extremely rewarding; and the combination of academic experience and knowledge with advanced persuasion skills allows for an elevated form of advocacy much to the benefit of both corporate and individual clients.

HOW DO YOU NAVIGATE THE MULTI-JURISDICTIONAL ELEMENTS OF THE CASES YOU ACT IN?

Nowadays, most white-collar crime cases have important cross-border aspects. A strategic decision in any of the jurisdictions involved may have serious repercussions in all the others. A timely and careful co-ordination of all initiatives through multiple jurisdictions is of paramount importance in order to achieve a globally positive outcome of the case. We are fortunate to have an excellent network of prominent colleagues around the world and be able to develop an integrated strategy in each case tailored to the needs of our clients.            

WHAT ARE THE MAIN CHALLENGES POSED BY THE UNREGULATED NATURE OF INTERNAL INVESTIGATIONS CARRIED OUT BY COMPANIES FOR THE BUSINESS CRIME DEFENCE MARKET?

Corporate internal investigations have surged in recent years, fuelled by a desire to increase transparency, avoid or minimise sanctions, retain business and enhance company profiles. However, this rapidly expanding area remains almost unregulated. Specific rules on procedures to be followed, on the rights and privileges of persons involved, the admissibility and probative value of evidence collected during such investigations are yet to be established. In the uncharted waters of internal investigations lawyers are called on to safeguard the interests of their clients resisting their transformation to submissive assistants of the prosecuting authorities.           

HOW IS RISK MANAGEMENT, AS A DISTINCT SPECIALISATION, DEVELOPING WITHIN THE BUSINESS CRIME DEFENCE FIELD?

In the past criminal defence lawyers were called to the scene only after the disaster had occurred. In the business crime area this is not the rule anymore. Affected corporates and individuals have developed an understanding that timely and competent advice by experts in this field in relation to risk management is indispensable in order to address the ever-increasing needs in an extremely demanding environment. Only defence lawyers who excel among their peers have an eye for criminal risks and can offer proper guidance on how to navigate through multiple criminal and regulatory risks.             

IS AN INCREASING CRIMINALISATION OF CORPORATE WRONGDOING THE BEST WAY TO PREVENT FUTURE WHITE-COLLAR CRIME?

Criminalisation of corporate wrongdoing is on the rise. To some extent, this trend is understandable against the background of increasing public demand for transparency and corporate accountability. However, there are clear signs of over-criminalisation in this field, which is fuelled by populist politics. Advocates of increasing criminalisation disregard – or even hide – the fact that harsh criminal sanctions are not in themselves an effective device to prevent white-collar crime. Priority must be given to the improvement of corporate transparency and the establishment of efficient internal and external monitoring mechanisms, which would facilitate prevention and detection of wrongful practices.           

HOW HAS THE LEGAL MARKET CHANGED SINCE YOU STARTED PRACTISING?

I started my career at a time when business crime defence was not main stream for criminal practitioners. This area has since flourished. In today’s overregulated business world, criminal liability for corporates and individuals has become collateral damage of global business. Management of criminal risks and protection of the client’s interests requires a sophisticated multi-level defence strategy.

AS MANAGING PARTNER OF THE FIRM, WHAT ARE YOUR MAIN PRIORITIES FOR ITS DEVELOPMENT OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS?

We will continue to offer competent advice and develop all necessary synergies to achieve the best outcome in each case. Litigation will lie at the heart of our practice; our firm’s multi-talented team is set to enrich its impressive track record in complex high-profile cases. One of our priorities will be to use cutting-edge technology and ensure high-end services to our clients.

WHAT IS THE BEST PIECE OF CAREER ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?

Never lose faith. Fight to win even when everybody else has surrendered.

Global Leader

WWL Ranking: Recommended
WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Ilias Anagnostopoulos is “an excellent lawyer” who stands out as the foremost white-collar expert in the country. He is internationally renowned for his leading expertise in corporate crime and compliance 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: Global Elite Thought Leader

WWL says

Ilias Anagnostopoulos is “an excellent lawyer” who stands out as the foremost white-collar expert in the country. He is internationally renowned for his leading expertise in corporate crime and compliance 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
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