Corporate Investigations & Compliance

Corporate accountability is high on the agenda for most corporations and organizations as the regulatory landscape has become increasingly complex. At the same time, corporate investigations are increasing in number and complexity all over the world. Our multidisciplinary team of experienced investigations experts helps clients navigate a multitude of compliance-related situations where there is a need to devise a strategy that minimizes operational and regulatory risk and exposure.

We assist clients with high-stakes and high-profile corporate investigations, both when conducted internally and when pursued by national and international enforcement agencies. Our cross-border team consists of experts in several specialist areas, with extensive experience of complex multijurisdictional and domestic investigations. We also conduct regulatory risk assessments and advise on how to build efficient corporate compliance management structures.

A constructive, open-minded and solution-oriented team, providing very high-quality services.

Chambers Europe, Corporate Investigations

We take pride in acting as our clients’ trusted advisor with preparatory compliance work as well as in coordinating cross-border investigations when required. Thanks to our close contacts with local counsel in Tier 1 practices globally, as well as with other relevant experts, such as forensics and accounting consultants, we can provide an efficient top tier one-stop-shop service, regardless of jurisdiction.

We also represent clients faced with investigations by authorities and related litigation before the courts and in arbitration proceedings. We offer a full range of services, from providing strategic advice and taking investigative steps such as open-source research, to conducting interviews, reviewing documents, and performing financial data and forensic analyses.

Competition law investigations have serious consequences for the companies involved, including burdensome processes, financial consequences, and reputational damage. Our job is to reduce the clients’ potential exposure in such processes and ensure that the best possible defense strategy is adopted.

We assist our clients with all strategic and procedural aspects of competition law investigations, including onsite inspections, internal audits, communication strategies and investigations, and litigation before national and EU competition authorities and courts. Competition investigations often tend to snowball into new jurisdictions and product areas – we provide global coordination and a holistic and forward-looking strategy.

Contacts: Ami Paanajärvi, Kristian Hugmark, Emma Johansson

Companies engaged in investigations, whether initiated internally or by authorities, must ensure that they do not breach data protection and privacy laws in the course of the investigation. This is always a balancing act.

The EU General Data Protection Regulation and the national implementation laws set strict limits as far as concerns the conduct of investigations and the sharing of personal data overseas. However, national laws protecting electronic communications and employee privacy may differ significantly across the EU member states and provide for additional restrictions on the way in which investigations are conducted.

To ensure compliance with data protection laws, companies must carefully assess the individual circumstances and legal requirements for each investigation – and for each jurisdiction involved. The steps planned as well as the steps taken should be documented to demonstrate compliance with privacy laws. Failure to do so may lead to administrative or criminal fines and other sanctions, damages claims, reputational risks and exclusion of evidence. Our team offers holistic and pragmatic guidance to ensure privacy compliance in all stages of the investigations.

We have extensive experience of pre-investigation advisory services, including setting up internal whistleblowing hotlines compliant with data protection rules. We also assist our clients with GDPR-related investigations, audits, and disputes.

Contacts: Johanna Lilja, Björn Johansson Heigis

We are familiar with the complexities of compliance work and international investigations and have considerable experience of conducting and coordinating such work for our clients, including handling complex and extensive data.

Our experience as dispute resolution practitioners helps us ensure the integrity of a variety of highly sensitive situations and secure a well-documented process, as is instrumental in internal investigations. We have in-depth knowledge on attorney-client privilege, witness interviews as well as best practices and tools for performing appropriate reviews of emails and other documents. In addition, we regularly assist our clients’ board members and management in making informed decisions in connection with complex compliance-related issues, often involving both internal and external investigations, and in assessing the risks relating to their liability in this context.

We support our clients throughout the lifecycle of compliance work and investigations, including post-investigation court and/or arbitration proceedings. As dispute resolution practitioners, we are well-equipped to assess and prepare for e.g., potential damages claims and exposure during the investigative phase.

Contacts: Aapo Saarikivi, Johan Sidklev, Laila Sivonen, Annika Pynnä

Workplace investigations dealing with alleged workplace harassment, inappropriate behavior and incompliance are extremely sensitive in nature. Handling situations such as sexual harassment or bullying requires not only solid legal expertise, but also extensive experience and the ability of the investigator to build trust with those involved. If not handled professionally, workplace conflicts can lead to serious consequences, including the risk of criminal liability, not only for the individuals in question, but also for the entire work community and the company and its representatives.

Our team of experienced professionals specializing in employment matters, dispute resolution and workplace conflicts, assists our clients with complex investigations relating to suspected harassment and other workplace-related non-compliance. We guide corporations and organizations in both local and multijurisdictional non-compliance situations on how to comply with legal, regulatory, contractual, and ethical requirements. Employment law-related questions are often part of investigation procedures, which means that it is crucial to involve employment law experts in most investigations, whether harassment-related or other.

We work in close cooperation with our clients’ management, legal teams, and HR professionals in various industries, aiming to find practical, business-minded, and effective solutions and to prevent workplace-related risks. We take pride in our facilitative and human working methods, always focusing on the way forward.

Contacts: Anu Waaralinna, Jenny Welander Wadström, Mari Mohsen, Sam Seddigh

As the regulatory requirements are getting more and more complex and extensive, compliance audits, whether initiated internally due to alleged breaches or by authorities, are increasingly common. Our cross-border and cross-practice team helps clients navigate in a complex regulatory environment consisting of sanctions regulations, financial services regulations, anti-bribery and corruption regulations, anti-money laundering regulations, competition law, trade secrets, human rights, health and safety at the workplace, etc.

Our offering covers everything from regulatory risk assessment to building compliance management programs, providing strategic advice, and handling investigations and enforcement processes.

Main contacts: Kristian Hugmark, Ami Paanajärvi, Johanna Lilja, Björn Johansson Heigis, Johan Sidklev, Aapo Saarikivi, Anu Waaralinna, Jenny Welander Wadström

Sanctions

With the sanctions regimes worldwide currently undergoing unprecedented expansions, we assist our clients with a broad spectrum of questions related to managing the constantly changing framework.

Whether updating the clients’ sanctions compliance programs, analyzing the potential sanctions risks related to a specific contemplated transaction, or invoking applicable sanctions in the context of an existing contractual relationship, our experts are well-equipped to guide clients through the related complexities.

With EU sanctions being our primary area of expertise, we are also experienced in acting as lead counsel and coordinating sanctions advice required from other jurisdictions by cooperating with top-tier local counsel.

Contacts: Shirin Saif, Aapo Saarikivi, Ola Sandersson, Dan Hanqvist, Martin Öhman, Laila Sivonen, Paula Airas, Annika Pynnä

Our cross-practice team regularly assists our clients in investigations initiated by notifications reported through internal whistleblowing/ethics hotlines. We also regularly assist companies in setting up whistleblowing channels in a manner compliant with EU and national laws.

When setting up internal whistleblowing and ethics hotlines, we advise clients on how to establish policies and routines to ensure an effective, compliant, and safe investigation process. Typical questions and topics that are considered are:

– Are the company and its activities subject to mandatory whistleblowing laws (such as the EU Whistleblower Directive)?

– What national laws need to be considered?

– Is anonymous reporting allowed? How do we ensure anonymity in the tools and processes?

– How can we plan and record the processes?

– Appointment and training of those responsible for the hotline.

– Data privacy considerations when launching hotlines and conducting investigations.

– Works council/trade union-related considerations when setting up internal hotlines.

– Reporting channels in a (global) group.

Contacts: Johanna Lilja, Ami Paanajärvi, Mari Mohsen, Laila Sivonen, Björn Johansson Heigis, Jenny Welander Wadström, Sam Seddigh

  • Assisting a Nordic listed company in a European Commission investigation into alleged anti-competitive behavior, handling and coordinating the cross-border internal investigation including cross-border antitrust, privacy and employment law advice.
  • Assisting a UK-based multijurisdictional client as well as a Nordic listed company with undisclosed Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority investigations (FCCA) regarding alleged anti-competitive behavior in the Finnish market. The investigations were closed by the FCCA with no finding of an infringement.
  • Assisting one of the major insurance companies in Sweden during the Swedish Competition Authority’s largest ever investigation into suspected anti-competitive conduct, initiated by an onsite inspection. The investigation was closed after four years with no finding of an infringement.
  • Assisting a Finnish listed company in coordinating employment law matters in a cross-border investigation.
  • Assisting a Finnish listed company in coordinating privacy compliance in a cross-border investigation.
  • Assisting a Swedish company with investigations launched by the Swedish data protection authority.
  • Assisting a large international company, listed on Nasdaq, in an investigation regarding alleged discrimination of a former employee, who was represented by the Swedish Equality Ombudsman which resulted in a successful settlement for the client.
  • Assisting a Finnish listed company, whose foreign subsidiary faced a police investigation relating to suspected misconduct. We assisted the client in conducting an internal investigation and analyzed potential implications and exposure in different scenarios pertaining to the suspected wrongdoing and ongoing police investigation.
  • Assisting a Nordic company in conducting a compliance due diligence investigation in connection with the acquisition of a minority shareholding in a Finnish listed company. We interviewed the target company’s management about compliance concerns and provided the client with an analysis of the main compliance risks identified.
  • Representing a European multinational corporation in a global investigation into alleged market abuse by competitors’ resorting to large scale bribery and other unethical business conduct to gain market advantages. The Roschier team conducted a large-scale document review and months of interviews, including claims analysis, eventually leading to an amicable solution.
  • Assisting a global company in an international internal investigation involving alleged discrimination and misconduct from a senior executive.
  • Assisting an international Group, listed on Nasdaq, with the setting up of their whistleblowing channels in accordance with the EU Directive and Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, and Finnish laws.
Meet the team 

Main contacts

Aapo Saarikivi 
Partner
Helsinki