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Thought Leaders

Thought Leaders

Ilias Anagnostopoulos

Ilias Anagnostopoulos

Anagnostopoulos6 Patriarchou Ioakeim Str.AthensGreece10674

Thought Leader

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.

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 teaches criminal law and procedure at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, and is a member of the Ministry of Justice experts committee.

What has been your most interesting case to date, and why?

Among the cases we won in the past three years I would single out a 2017 judgment of the Court of Appeal Athens (sitting as a first-instance court) in a widely publicised and politicised bribery and money laundering case. After a multi-month trial the Court convicted a former minister for money laundering in relation to bribes paid by Siemens in exchange for contracts. The Court acquitted the co-defendant Mr T (our client), a Greek businessman and close friend to the minister who had opened a bank account in Switzerland to which the bribes were transferred. On the facts of the case and the prosecution’s evidence, few believed that we had a real chance of winning this case. However, we decided to ride against the wind and persuaded the Court that T acted in good faith and had no knowledge of the dirty origin of the money. The proudest moment for a trial lawyer is always when he or she achieves what at first sight seems to be impossible.

What did you find most challenging about entering business crime defence practice?

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.   

Weeks before the Greek Parliament closed, a new criminal procedure code was passed into law. What are likely to be the biggest changes for white-collar criminal practitioners as a result of the new code?

The new criminal code restructured, among other areas, the sanctions available for various offences including white-collar crimes. The new system is more proportional, thus allowing for a balanced approach from the defence perspective. Moreover, the new code of criminal procedure introduced a form of plea bargaining, together with other alternative forms of resolution, which offer the defence a wider array of options to be considered in each case.   

How have sanctions regulations changed in light of new legislation in Greece? 

Overall, sanctions have become more flexible. Prosecutors and the courts are now in a better position to adjust the sanctions (either negotiated or imposed) to the specifics of each case and the individual defendants enhancing fairness and efficiency.   

The new Greek government has announced that it will create a national transparency agency. What will be the main aims of this new agency and how will it impact practitioners like yourself?

The aim of the new agency is to bring under a single umbrella the various agencies that now operate in their respective segments without being centrally coordinated. It remains to be seen whether the envisaged centralisation will facilitate a better understanding of the needs of each case, and improve communication and possible cooperation with practitioners in this area.     

In what ways does your firm, Anagnostopoulos, distinguish itself from competition in the market?

The combination of superior advice with forceful litigation is the trademark of our firm. We offer our clients, in all situations, a carefully designed overall strategy that includes all necessary synergies to achieve the best outcome; and when it comes to litigation, our firm’s talented and dynamic team commands respect in the courtroom. We pride ourselves on having an impeccable track record in prominent cases through multiple jurisdictions.

What does the future of your practice look like in relation to the market?

We are confident that our firm will strengthen its 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.

You have enjoyed a very distinguished career so far. What would you like to achieve that you have not yet accomplished?

Going forward I would like to focus on the new generation of criminal defence lawyers and share with them the fundamental values of our profession. Criminal defence is a fight for freedom to be fought by lawyers devoted to their noble mission.

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 highly visible in the Greek market with a first-rate practice in white-collar crime and investigations work.  

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

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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