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Q&A – What should i know in case of a dawn raid?
Should I allow officials to enter my company’s premises?
- Check whether the officials are there to investigate your company. If they are, they have the right to enter.
- You have the right to check officials’ identification documents and verify the reason for their visit (the subject and purpose of the inspection). You can also request that officials take a seat in an empty room to wait until your legal counsel arrives. Officials are generally willing to wait 30 minutes for your legal counsel to arrive. In the meantime, they may want to secure certain rooms without starting the actual investigation.
- See our checklist for additional steps to be taken during a dawn raid.
Should I allow officials to enter my private residence?
- Officials are allowed to enter private residences either with the permission of the resident, or with a warrant issued by a public prosecutor. Make sure that you ask to see the warrant or proof of such permission.
Do I have to cooperate?
- You have a legal obligation to cooperate with the investigation. Failure to observe this obligation can be penalised by significant fines.
- There are, however, limits to the level of cooperation an authority can demand. The extent to which companies are obliged to cooperate has to be proportional and cannot exceed the scope of the investigation, as described in the document authorising the inspection.
Should I provide passwords and allow access?
- You must provide passwords used, for example, to log in to ICT-systems and access to certain locations (provided that it is relevant to the investigation).
- Authorities’ investigative powers to review and copy documents include hard copy and digital documents. Digital investigations by the ACM are conducted according to the ACM’s procedure for the inspection of digital data. Digital investigations by the European Commission are conducted according to the European Commission’s Explanatory Note.
- Carefully examine the exact description of the object of the investigation. The authorities may only review and copy information that falls within this description. Personal documents and correspondence between the company and its legal counsel, i.e. documents containing private or privileged information, may, in principle, not be reviewed.
- Documents that are private or privileged, or documents that fall outside the scope of the investigation, can be briefly looked into if this is necessary to determine the nature of the document. This does mean that privileged and private documents cannot be reviewed for any other purpose than this.
Should I provide access to laptops or phones?
Should I answer questions?
- An attorney may always be present during interrogations.
- No one is obligated to testify against or incriminate himself, and you have the right to remain silent.
- If a question is unclear, always ask for an explanation.
- If you respond to a question, answer truthfully and keep the answer short and factual.
The officials are leaving – what now?