Since its introduction, Bitcoin has experienced an incredible rise and is now the most prominent form of cryptocurrency. The increased use of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has contributed to a growth in fraudulent activity in this area in Germany and worldwide. It is not unusual for inexperienced investors and traders to be caught in scams and frauds. Due to the decentralised nature of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, it is vital to consult with legal professionals with knowledge of the area.
At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, our expertise in German criminal law, and our knowledge of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, mean that we are ideally placed to represent you.
Leading advice in cases of Bitcoin & cryptocurrency fraud.
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Fraud, Money Laundering and Blackmail under German Law
Bitcoin and cryptocurrency fraud can be committed for various reasons, including blackmail and money laundering. There are sanctions for fraud and legal avenues for victims in criminal and civil proceedings. Fraud in Germany is defined under § 263 StGB, and it states the following:
Whoever, with the intention of obtaining an unlawful pecuniary benefit for themselves or a third party, damages the assets of another by causing or maintaining an error under false pretences or distorting or suppressing true facts incurs a penalty of imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or a fine.
Bitcoin & cryptocurrency fraud can take different forms. From cold calling by fraudsters to potential investors getting involved with what amount to scams, to fake websites and stolen digital wallets through hacking. Cold calling, in particular, by alleged “traders” and cryptocurrency experts can lead to inexperienced investors being involved with fraud. Due to technological developments and other innovations, keeping ahead of fraudsters can be very challenging.
Being the victim of such a scam can leave you in a difficult situation, as often such scams can cost significant amounts of money. Our lawyers will assist you with closing bank accounts, tracking where your funds have gone, tracing the fraudster and outlining the legal options available.
Money laundering and blackmail offences are often connected to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency fraud. Money laundering is an offence under § 261 StGB, and blackmail or extortion is covered under § 253 StGB, and both violations can lead to fines and prison sentences for those involved.
If you have been the victim of such matters or are being accused of such activity and require legal advice, don’t hesitate to contact our firm directly. If you have been the victim of such matters, consult with our team for advice on identifying the perpetrators, and they will advise you on the level of proof needed in a civil court action.
Defences in Accusations of Bitcoin & Cryptocurrency Fraud
Accusations of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency fraud can be severe allegations, and the support of experienced criminal defence counsel is required. Due to the nature of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, fraud can be alleged without the parties fully understanding how the law relates to the area.
Hiring defence counsel from an early stage is the surest way to defend yourself from criminal sanctions. Working with our criminal law team from the beginning allows our lawyers to formulate a strategy and prepare you for the legal consequences of what will arise. Our lawyers are experienced in all matters concerning the German criminal law system and will calmly guide you through the process, outlining what you should expect.
Although Bitcoin and cryptocurrency fraud is a relatively modern development in Germany, the principles of fraud and criminal procedure still apply. Our lawyers will prepare you for cross-examinations, advise you on whether matters can be resolved outside of court, formulate the defence strategy with you and represent you throughout the court proceedings. As advisors on Bitcoin investments, our lawyers have the expertise to assess the nature of the alleged offence and how strong the prosecuting case is.
If you are concerned that the activities you are involved in may lead to accusations of Bitcoin & cryptocurrency fraud, don’t hesitate to contact our team directly.
Our lawyers will provide an in-depth overview of what activities are considered legal and illegal under German law. However, you may need to act quickly, as accusations of that nature can damage your credibility. Preventing the matter from reaching the courts can also be financially beneficial and time-saving.
Preventing Fraud: Our Services
At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, you can be assured that you are receiving advice from experts in the field of German criminal law. You can contact our legal team for expert advice if you believe you may be involved in a Bitcoin or cryptocurrency fraud.
Our lawyers regularly advise clients on investing in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies and will investigate whether fraud may be in progress. With technological developments, spotting a scam can be more complicated than it appears. Scammers will often claim to be legitimate traders or expert traders.
It is not unusual for scammers to display a believable website or other credentials, and identity theft can also make them appear more like reliable traders. However, with the right due diligence, analysis and investigation, our lawyers can inform you of what you need to look out for and ensure you avoid it.
If you have been the victim of Bitcoin or cryptocurrency fraud, our lawyers will provide guidance regarding what to do next. Our team will aggressively pursue options to regain your lost investments, advise you on the German legal system, and ensure that you are fully aware of your rights under German law.
Tax Considerations and Issues for Cryptocurrencies in Germany
Although Bitcoin is not defined as a currency under German law, it is classified as “units of account” by the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin). Therefore, for tax purposes, Bitcoin is seen as an asset. Under this definition, Bitcoin is under a tax regime similar to other high-value assets. If you generate income from the sale of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, you must ensure that it is entered into your tax return. Furthermore, transactions such as exchanging cryptocurrencies for goods and services and for other cryptocurrencies are also taxable.
Not understanding your tax obligations and requirements under German law are not defences in court. Our lawyers will advise you on all German tax laws and how they relate to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Our team will advise you on all of your legal obligations.
Practice Group: German Business Criminal Law
German Business Criminal Law
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