In 2021, the police registered more than 146,000 cyber-attacks in Germany alone. To be able to identify and convict the people behind these attacks, which were often launched from abroad, the German public prosecutor’s offices are upgrading and investigating together with the local authorities abroad.

In the age of the Internet of Things, cybercrime can take place anywhere. The almost limitless availability of the internet makes crime possible wherever people can use computers or smartphones. In the office, at home and on the street – a kind of “crime to go”. Moreover, the crime scene is not necessarily identical with the place where the crime is committed because it takes place in the virtual world – hundreds of kilometres can lie between the two. However, if the victim is based in Germany, the offence is also punishable under German criminal law, explain the Ecovis lawyers.

German prosecutors are taking action against cybercrime from abroad

Due to this special feature of the criminal law, there are now an increasing number of cases in which the German public prosecutor’s office is also investigating abroad in close cooperation with the local authorities.

Technically, a distinction is made between “cybercrime in the narrower sense” (crimes directed against the internet, data networks, information technology systems or their data) such as the use of malware, spam and phishing, or the creation of fake websites and “cybercrime in the broader sense” (crimes committed by means of information technology). Money laundering and cryptocurrency fraud may also fall under the definition of cybercrime.

In Germany, due to the increase in cases in the field of cybercrime and due to the complexity of the cases, separate investigation units have been formed at public prosecutor’s offices, e.g. the Central Cybercrime Unit Bavaria (ZCB).

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Are you under investigation for cybercrime in Germany? We defend you against the charges in Germany.

Janika Sievert, lawyer and specialist in criminal law and tax law, Ecovis L+C Rechtsanwalts GmbH, Wuerzburg, Germany

An example: How investigators work with their colleagues on location

Bavarian media recently reported on one such special unit case (Bayerischer Rundfunk, retrieved 16.02.2022, only available in German). The case led to the arrest of 11 members of a group acting in Georgia and Tel Aviv and pretending to invest funds profitably in online platforms worldwide.

Following a report from an injured party from Bavaria, the special unit of the public prosecutor’s office took over the proceedings already pending on the online platforms and contacted the competent local investigating authorities with the help of Eurojust. The evidence gathered in Germany and abroad led to the issuing of arrest warrants by the Bamberg district court. After the arrests, extradition was requested. The accused are now awaiting criminal proceedings in a German court.

The high degree of specialisation of the investigating authorities also requires specialist defence for the accused. As experienced criminal defence lawyers in white-collar and criminal tax law, we also defend such complex cases throughout Germany.

For further information please contact:

Janika Sievert, lawyer and specialist in criminal law and tax law, Ecovis L+C Rechtsanwalts GmbH, Wuerzburg, Germany