2. Corporate Criminal Law?
The changes in economic criminal law are accompanied by the discussion about so-called corporate criminal law. In Germany, a company has not yet been able to make itself liable to prosecution. In criminal proceedings, only “natural persons”, i.e. managing directors, managers or board members, are currently held responsible.
However, the instrument of corporate fines should not be underestimated. Although such a fine is imposed “only” in administrative offence proceedings, it can lead to considerable economic burdens.
The phenomenon of criminal economic bosses was first investigated around 1939 by the American criminologist Edwin H. Sutherland as white-collar-crime (“white-collar crime”). The term white-collar-crime is derived from the special feature that managers and boards of directors of often European or global corporations and companies sit in the dock. They do their work – and their crimes – mostly from their desks, i.e. in a situation in which they wear white shirts. The term “white-collar-crimes” contrasts with “blue-collar-crimes”, which refer to offences typically committed in lower social milieus or by the working class, such as bodily harm. The term “blue-collar” refers to the typical blue work clothes used in production.