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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 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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