GERMANY BACKGROUND CHECK

General Information

GDP USD3,730bn (World ranking 4, World Bank 2013)
Population 80.6 million (World ranking 16, World Bank 2013)
Form of state Federal Republic
Head of government Angela MERKEL (CDU)
Next elections 2017, legislative

CURRENT LOCAL TIME

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PRODUCTS IN GERMANY

Data Protection

Germany

Contribution Details

Thomas Jansen

Partner

Britta hinzpeter

Senior Associate

Patrick schwarzbart

Senior Associate

Law

The main legal source of data protection in Germany is the Federal Data Protection Act (Bundesdatenschutzgesetz in German) (“BDSG”) which implements the European data protection directive 95/46/EC.

Additionally, each German state has a data protection law of its own. In principle, the data protection acts of the individual states intend to protect personal data from processing and use by public authorities of the states whereas the BDSG intends to protect personal data from processing and use by federal public authorities and private bodies. Enforcement is through

the data protection authorities of the German states. The competence of the respective state authority depends on the place of business of the data controller.

Definition of Personal Data

The BDSG defines personal data as any information concerning the personal or material circumstances of an identified or identifiable natural person (“data subject”).

Definition of Sensitive Personal Data

Sensitive or rather special categories of personal data under the BDSG are any information on racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade union membership, health or sex life. 

National Data Protection Authority

Each individual German state has a Data Protection Authority which is responsible for the enforcement of data protection laws and competent for data controllers established in the relevant state.

Registration

Unlike most European data protection regimes, German data protection law does not require

a registration of automated data processing. In addition, even though the BDSG provides for a notification, such notification is the exception rather than the rule.

This follows from the fact that the notification requirement is waived if the data controller has appointed a data protection officer (“DPO”), which is mandatory for all companies of a certain size (the obligation applies if more than nine persons are regularly involved in the automated processing of personal data). Automated data processing operations with respect to sensitive data are subject to prior checking by the data controller’s internal DPO.

Data Protection officers

Data controllers that deploy more than nine persons with the automated processing of personal data are obliged to appoint a DPO. Such a DPO may either be an employee or an external consultant that has sufficient knowledge in the field of data protection.

The DPO shall in particular monitor the proper use of data processing programs and take suitable steps to familiarise the persons employed in the processing of personal data with the provisions of data protection.

As far as sensitive personal data is concerned, such personal data is subject to examination prior

to the beginning of processing (prior checking) by the appointed DPO unless the data subject has consented. In case of doubt, the DPO shall liaise with the competent authorities.

Collection and Processing

The collection, processing and use of personal data is only admissible if explicitly permitted by the

BDSG or any other legal provision or if the data subject has explicitly consented in advance.

In practice, Section 28 BDSG is the most applicable statutory provision permitting collection, processing and use of personal data. For example, Section 28 para. 1 no. 1–3 BDSG provide that the collection, processing or use of personal data as a means of fulfilling one’s own business purposes shall be admissible if it is:

■     Necessary to create, perform or terminate a legal obligation or quasi legal obligation with the

Data subject;

■     Necessary to safeguard legitimate interests of the controller and there is no reason to assume that the data subject has an overriding legitimate interest in ruling out the possibility of processing or use; or

■     The personal data is generally accessible or the controller would be allowed to publish them, unless the data subject has a clear and overriding interest.

Sensitive personal data may only be processed if:

■     it is necessary to protect the vital interests of the data subject or of another person where the data subject is physically or legally incapable of giving his or her consent;

■     the data involved has manifestly been made public, by the data subject;

■     it is necessary to assert, exercise or defend legal claims and there is no reason to assume that the data subject has an overriding legitimate interest in ruling out the possibility of collection, processing or use; or

■     It is necessary for the purposes of scientific research, where the scientific interest in carrying out the research project significantly outweighs the data subject’s interest in ruling out

The possibility of collection, processing and use and the purpose of the research cannot be achieved in any other way or would require a disproportionate effort.

Processing of employee data for employment related purposes is subject to a separate provision (Sec. 32 BDSG) according to which the collection, processing and use of employee data is only permitted regarding decisions on the establishment, implementation and termination of the employment contract.

Whichever of the above conditions is relied upon, upon the first collection of personal data without the data subject’s knowledge, the data controller must provide the data subject with “fair processing information”. This includes the identity of the data controller, the purposes of processing and any other information needed under the circumstances to ensure that the processing is fair.

Transfer

With respect to the transfer of personal data to third parties it needs to be differentiated between a transfer within the European Economic Area (“EEA”) and a transfer to any other country outside the EEA:

■     Due to the harmonization of data protection law by European law, a transfer of personal data to third parties within the EEA is treated as if it took place within the territory of Germany, ie it is admissible if explicitly permitted by the BDSG or any other legal provision or if the data subject has explicitly consented in advance.

■     The transfer of personal data to a country outside the EEA (“cross border”) is admissible

provided the following conditions are fulfilled:

–  regardless of the fact that the personal data is transferred cross border, a legal basis for the transfer as such is required, i.e. in the absence of consent, it needs to be explicitly permitted by the BDSG or any other legal provision; and

–  the data recipient needs to ensure an adequate level of data protection. The European

– Commission considers data recipients in Andorra, Switzerland, Canada, Argentina, Guernsey, the Isle of Man, Faeroe Islands Israel and New Zealand as providing such an adequate level (as of 19 December 2012). In case the data recipient is seated in the US, it should comply with the US Department of Commerce’s Safe Harbour Privacy Principles. In addition, adequate safeguards with respect to the protection of personal data can be achieved by entering into binding corporate rules (only applicable if the data recipient is

a group company) or by entering into a data protection agreement based on the EU model clauses of the European Commission). Please note that a data transfer agreement based

on the EU model clauses must be strictly in compliance with the wording of the model clauses provided by the EU Commission.

■     whether there is a notification requirement, depends on the legal basis for the cross-border transfer. While a transfer based on binding corporate rules always requires involvement of the authorities, a transfer based on Safe Harbor principles or EU model clauses does not. Such transfer is handled differently by the responsible authorities. However, most authorities do not require a notification.

Security

Data controllers must take appropriate technical and organizational measures against unauthorized or unlawful processing and against accidental loss or destruction of, or damage to, personal data. The measures taken must ensure a level of security appropriate to the

Harm which might result from such unauthorized or unlawful processing or accidental loss,

Destruction or damage as mentioned above, and appropriate to the nature of the data.

Breach notification

A breach notification duty has recently been implemented into the BDSG. According to Sec. 42a

BDSG the notification duty applies if:

■     sensitive personal data; personal data subject to professional secrecy, personal data related to criminal and/or administrative offences, personal data concerning bank or credit card accounts, certain telecommunications and online data is abused or lost and an authorized third party acquires knowledge; and

■     in case of telecommunications and online data, there is a serious threat of interference with

Interests of concerned individuals.

Data controllers are obliged to inform supervisory authorities and the concerned individuals.

Enforcement

Violation of German data protection laws are subject to pecuniary fines up to EUR 300,000 per violation (administrative offence). In the case of willful behavior or if conducted in exchange for a financial benefit (criminal offence), by imprisonment of up to 2 years or a fine depending on how severe the violation is. Authorities may also skim profits generated by data protection breaches.

In the past, German data protection authorities were rather reluctant concerning the

enforcement of data protection law, ie very few official prosecution procedures were opened and imposed fines were rather low. However, this has recently changed and we note a tendency to a stricter enforcement. This particularly relates to several data protection scandals involving loss and disclosure or misuse of personal data in the recent years.

Further, reputation damages are usually quite severe if data protection breaches become public. Civil liabilities as well as injunctive reliefs and skimming of profits are likely under the Unfair Competition Act.

Electronic Marketing

In general, unsolicited electronic marketing requires prior opt-in consent. The opt-in requirement is waived under the “same service/product” exemption. The exemption concerns marketing emails related to the same products/services as previously purchased from the sender by the user provided:

■     The user has been informed of the right to opt-out prior to the first marketing email;

■     The user did not opt-out; and

■     The user is informed of the right to opt-out of any marketing email received. The exemption applies to electronic communication such as electronic text messages and email but does not apply with respect to communication sent by fax.

Direct marketing emails must not disguise or conceal the identity of the sender.

Online Privacy (including Cookies and Location Data)

Traffic data – Traffic data qualifies as personal data. Providers of telecommunication services may collect and use the following traffic data to the following extent:

■     the number or other identification of the lines in question or of the terminal;

■     authorization codes, additionally the card number when customer cards are used;

■     location data when mobile handsets are used;

■     the beginning and end of the connection, indicated by date and time and, where relevant to

the charges, the volume of data transmitted;

■      the telecommunications service used by the user; or

■     the termination points of fixed connections, the beginning and end of their use, indicated by date and time and, where relevant to the charges, the volume of data transmitted.

Any other traffic data required for setup and maintenance of the telecommunications connection and for billing purposes.

Stored traffic data may be used after the termination of a connection only where required to set up a further connection, for billing purposes or in case the user has requested a connection overview.

Otherwise, traffic data must be erased by the service provider without undue delay following termination of the connection.

Location Data – Location Data qualifies as personal data. This data may only be processed as required for the provision of requested services and is subject to prior information of the user. For all other purposes, the user’s informed consent must be obtained. According to Section 4a BDSG, 13 German Telemdia Act (“TMG”) this means that:

■     the user’s consent must be intentional, informed and clear. For this purpose the user must be informed on the type, the scope, the location and the purpose of data collection, processing and use including any forwarding of data to third parties;

■     the user’s consent must be recorded properly ;

■     the user must be able to access the content of his consent declaration any time. It is sufficient that such information are provided upon the users’ request; and

■     the user’s consent must be revocable at all times with effect for the future.

Online Privacy (including Cookies and Location Data)

Users must always be informed on the use of cookies in a privacy notice. Cookies may generally be used if they are required in order to perform the services requested by the user. Otherwise, users must be provided with an opt-out mechanism. For this purpose, information on the use of cookies together with a link on how to adjust browser settings in order to prevent future use is sufficient.

Germany has not yet implemented the e-privacy directive. It is currently unclear when this will happen. It therefore remains to be seen whether it would also be sufficient to link the information about processing of personal data and technical measures to the browser settings or whether an active opt-in, e.g. by clicking on a pop-up screen will be required in the future.

Different rules apply in the case of tracking technologies which collect and store a user’s IP address. Since IP addresses qualify as personal data, their processing for tracking and marketing services requires active opt-in consent.

(Adopted on 1987)

Section 78 Period of Limitation

(3) To the extent that prosecution is subject to a statute of limitations, the period of limitation shall be:

1. thirty years in the case of acts punishable by imprisonment for life;

2. twenty years in the case of acts punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of more than ten years;

3. ten years in the case of acts punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of more than five years but not more than 10 years;

4. five years in the case of acts punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of more than one year but not more than five years;

5. three years in the case of other acts.

Section 108b Bribery of Voters

(1) Whoever offers, promises or furnishes another gifts or other benefits for not voting or for voting in a particular manner, shall be punished with imprisonment for not more than five years or a fine.

(2) Whoever requests, is promised or accepts gifts or other benefits in exchange for not voting or voting in a particular manner, shall be similarly punished.

Section 108e Bribery of Members of Parliament

(1) Whoever undertakes to buy or sell a vote for an election or ballot in the European Parliament or in a parliament of the Federation, the Lands, municipalities or municipal associations, shall be punished with imprisonment for not more than five years or a fine.

(2) Collateral to imprisonment of at least six months for a crime pursuant to subsection (1), the court may deprive the person of the capacity to attain public electoral rights, and the right to elect or vote in public matters.

Section 129 Formation of Criminal Organizations

(1) Whoever forms an organization, the objectives or activity of which are directed towards the commission of crimes, or whoever participates in such an organization as a member, recruits for it or supports it, shall be punished with imprisonment for not more than five years or a fine.

(2) Subsection (2) shall not be applied:

1. if the organization is a political party, which the Federal Constitutional Court has not declared to be unconstitutional;

2. if the commission of crimes is only an objective or activity of minor significance; or

3. to the extent that the purposes or activity of the organization relate to crimes under Sections 84 to 87.

(3) An attempt to form an organization indicated in subsection (1) shall be punishable.

(4) If the perpetrator is one of the ringleaders or supporters or there exists an especially serious case, then imprisonment from six months to five years shall be imposed.

(5) The court may dispense with punishment under subsections (1) and (3) in the case of participants whose guilt is slight or whose involvement is of minor significance.

(6) The court may in its discretion mitigate the punishment (Section 49 subsection (2)) or dispense with punishment under these provisions if the perpetrator:

1. voluntarily and earnestly makes efforts to prevent the continued existence of the organization or the commission of a crime consistent with its goals; or

2. voluntarily discloses his knowledge to a government agency in time, so that crimes, the planning of which he is aware, may still be prevented; if the perpetrator attains his goal of preventing the continued existence of the organization or if it is attained without his efforts, then he shall not be punished.

Section 299 Taking and Offering a Bribe in Business Transactions

(1) Whoever, as an employee or agent of a business, demands, allows himself to be promised, or accepts a benefit for himself or another in a business transaction as consideration for giving a preference in an unfair manner to another in the competitive purchase of goods or commercial services, shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than three years or a fine.

(2) Whoever, for competitive purposes, offers, promises or grants an employee or agent of a business a benefit for himself or for a third person in a business transaction as consideration, for his giving him or another a preference in an unfair manner in the purchase of goods or commercial services, shall be similarly punished.

Section 300 Especially Serious Cases of Taking and Offering a Bribe in Business Transactions

In especially serious cases an act under Section 299 shall be punished with imprisonment from three months to five years. An especially serious case exists, as a rule, if:

1. the act relates to a benefit of great magnitude; or

2. the perpetrator acted professionally or as a member of a gang which has combined for the continued commission of such acts.

Section 331 Acceptance of a Benefit

(1) A public official or a person with special public service obligations who demands, allows himself to be promised or accepts a benefit for himself or for a third person for the discharge of a duty, shall be punished with imprisonment for not more than three years or a fine.

(2) A judge or arbitrator who demands, allows himself to be promised or accepts a benefit for himself or a third person in return for the fact that he performed, or would in the future perform a judicial act, shall be punished with imprisonment for not more than five years or a fine. An attempt shall be punishable.

(3) The act shall not be punishable under subsection (1), if the perpetrator allows himself to be promised or accepts a benefit which he did not demand and the competent public authority, within the scope of its powers, either previously authorizes the acceptance, or the perpetrator promptly makes a report to it and it authorizes the acceptance.

Section 332 Taking a Bribe

(1) A public official or person with special public service obligations who demands, allows himself to be promised or accepts a benefit for himself or for a third person in return for the fact that he performed or would in the future perform an official act, and thereby violated or would violate his official duties, shall be punished with imprisonment from six months to five years. In less serious cases the punishment shall be imprisonment for not more than three years or a fine. An attempt shall be punishable.

(2) A judge or an arbitrator, who demands, allows himself to be promised or accepts a benefit for himself or for a third person in return for the fact that he performed or would in the future perform a judicial act, and thereby violates or would violate his judicial duties, shall be punished with imprisonment from one year to ten years. In less serious cases the punishment shall be imprisonment from six months to five years.

(3) If the perpetrator demands, allows himself to be promised or accepts a benefit in return for a future act, then subsections (1) and (2) shall already be applicable if he has indicated to the other his willingness to:

1. violate his duties by the act; or

2. to the extent the act is within his discretion, to allow himself to be influenced by the benefit in the exercise of his discretion.

Section 333 Granting a Benefit

(1) Whoever offers, promises or grants a benefit to a public official, a person with special public service obligations or a soldier in the Federal Armed Forces, for that person or a third person, for the discharge of a duty, shall be punished with imprisonment for not more than three years or a fine.

(2) Whoever offers promises or grants a benefit to a judge or an arbitrator, for that person or a third person, in return for the fact that he performed or would in the future perform a judicial act, shall be punished with imprisonment for not more than five years or a fine.

(3) The act shall not be punishable under subsection (1), if the competent public authority, within the scope of its powers, either previously authorizes the acceptance of the benefit by the recipient or authorizes it upon prompt report by the recipient.

Section 334 Offering a Bribe

(1) Whoever offers, promises or grants a benefit to a public official, a person with special public service obligations, or a soldier of the Federal Armed Forces, for that person or a third person, in return for the fact that he performed or would in the future perform an official act and thereby violates or would violate his official duties, shall be punished with imprisonment from three months to five years. In less serious cases the punishment shall be imprisonment for not more than two years or a fine.

(2) Whoever offers, promises or grants a benefit to a judge or an arbitrator, for that person or a third person, in return for the fact that he:

1. performed a judicial act and thereby violated his judicial duties; or

2. would in the future perform a judicial act and would thereby violate his judicial duties,

shall be punished in cases under number 1 with imprisonment from three months to five years, in cases under number 2 with imprisonment from six months to five years. An attempt shall be punishable.

(3) If the perpetrator offers, promises or grants the benefit in return for a future act, then subsections (1) and (2) shall already be applicable if he attempts to induce the other to:

1. violate his duties by the act; or

2. to the extent the act is within his discretion, to allow himself to be influenced by the benefit in the exercise of his discretion.

Section 335 Especially Serious Cases of Taking or Offering Bribes

(1) In especially serious cases:

1. an act under:

a) Section 332 subsection (1), sent. 1, also in conjunction with subsection (3); and

b) Section 334 subsection (1), sent. 1, and subsection (2), respectively also in conjunction with subsection (3), shall be punished with imprisonment from one year to ten years; and

2. an act under Section 332 subsection (2), also in conjunction with subsection (3), shall be punished with imprisonment for not less than two years.

(2) An especially serious case within the meaning of subsection (1) exists, as a rule, when:

1. the act relates to a benefit of great magnitude;

2. the perpetrator continuously accepts benefits which he demanded in return for the fact that he would perform an official act in the future; or

3. the perpetrator acts professionally or as a member of a gang which has combined for the continued commission of such acts.

(3) To the extent that prosecution is subject to a statute of limitations, the period of limitation shall be:

1. thirty years in the case of acts punishable by imprisonment for life;

2. twenty years in the case of acts punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of more than ten years;

3. ten years in the case of acts punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of more than five years but not more than 10 years;

4. five years in the case of acts punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of more than one year but not more than five years;

5. three years in the case of other acts.

Section 108b Bribery of Voters

(1) Whoever offers, promises or furnishes another gifts or other benefits for not voting or for voting in a particular manner, shall be punished with imprisonment for not more than five years or a fine.

(2) Whoever requests, is promised or accepts gifts or other benefits in exchange for not voting or voting in a particular manner, shall be similarly punished.

Section 108e Bribery of Members of Parliament

(1) Whoever undertakes to buy or sell a vote for an election or ballot in the European Parliament or in a parliament of the Federation, the Lands, municipalities or municipal associations, shall be punished with imprisonment for not more than five years or a fine.

(2) Collateral to imprisonment of at least six months for a crime pursuant to subsection (1), the court may deprive the person of the capacity to attain public electoral rights, and the right to elect or vote in public matters.

Section 299 Taking and Offering a Bribe in Business Transactions

(1) Whoever, as an employee or agent of a business, demands, allows himself to be promised, or accepts a benefit for himself or another in a business transaction as consideration for giving a preference in an unfair manner to another in the competitive purchase of goods or commercial services, shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than three years or a fine.

(2) Whoever, for competitive purposes, offers, promises or grants an employee or agent of a business a benefit for himself or for a third person in a business transaction as consideration, for his giving him or another a preference in an unfair manner in the purchase of goods or commercial services, shall be similarly punished.

Section 300 Especially Serious Cases of Taking and Offering a Bribe in Business Transactions

In especially serious cases an act under Section 299 shall be punished with imprisonment from three months to five years. An especially serious case exists, as a rule, if:

1. the act relates to a benefit of great magnitude; or

2. the perpetrator acted professionally or as a member of a gang which has combined for the continued commission of such acts.

Section 331 Acceptance of a Benefit

(1) A public official or a person with special public service obligations who demands, allows himself to be promised or accepts a benefit for himself or for a third person for the discharge of a duty, shall be punished with imprisonment for not more than three years or a fine.

(2) A judge or arbitrator who demands, allows himself to be promised or accepts a benefit for himself or a third person in return for the fact that he performed, or would in the future perform a judicial act, shall be punished with imprisonment for not more than five years or a fine. An attempt shall be punishable.

(3) The act shall not be punishable under subsection (1), if the perpetrator allows himself to be promised or accepts a benefit which he did not demand and the competent public authority, within the scope of its powers, either previously authorizes the acceptance, or the perpetrator promptly makes a report to it and it authorizes the acceptance.

Section 332 Taking a Bribe

(1) A public official or person with special public service obligations who demands, allows himself to be promised or accepts a benefit for himself or for a third person in return for the fact that he performed or would in the future perform an official act, and thereby violated or would violate his official duties, shall be punished with imprisonment from six months to five years. In less serious cases the punishment shall be imprisonment for not more than three years or a fine. An attempt shall be punishable.

(2) A judge or an arbitrator, who demands, allows himself to be promised or accepts a benefit for himself or for a third person in return for the fact that he performed or would in the future perform a judicial act,and thereby violates or would violate his judicial duties, shall be punished with imprisonment from one year to ten years. In less serious cases the punishment shall be imprisonment from six months to five years.

(3) If the perpetrator demands, allows himself to be promised or accepts a benefit in return for a future act, then subsections (1) and (2) shall already be applicable if he has indicated to the other his willingness to:

1. violate his duties by the act; or

2. to the extent the act is within his discretion, to allow himself to be influenced by the benefit in the exercise of his discretion.

Section 333 Granting a Benefit

(1) Whoever offers, promises or grants a benefit to a public official, a person with special public service obligations or a soldier in the Federal Armed Forces, for that person or a third person, for the discharge of a duty, shall be punished with imprisonment for not more than three years or a fine.

(2) Whoever offers promises or grants a benefit to a judge or an arbitrator, for that person or a third person, in return for the fact that he performed or would in the future perform a judicial act, shall be punished with imprisonment for not more than five years or a fine.

(3) The act shall not be punishable under subsection (1), if the competent public authority, within the scope of its powers, either previously authorizes the acceptance of the benefit by the recipient or authorizes it upon prompt report by the recipient.

Section 334 Offering a Bribe

(1) Whoever offers, promises or grants a benefit to a public official, a person with special public service obligations, or a soldier of the Federal Armed Forces, for that person or a third person, in return for the fact that he performed or would in the future perform an official act and thereby violates or would violate his official duties, shall be punished with imprisonment from three months to five years. In less serious cases the punishment shall be imprisonment for not more than two years or a fine.

(2) Whoever offers, promises or grants a benefit to a judge or an arbitrator, for that person or a third person, in return for the fact that he:

1. performed a judicial act and thereby violated his judicial duties; or

2. would in the future perform a judicial act and would thereby violate his judicial duties, shall be punished in cases under number 1 with imprisonment from three months to five years, in cases under number 2 with imprisonment from six months to five years. An attempt shall be punishable.

(3) If the perpetrator offers, promises or grants the benefit in return for a future act, then subsections (1)and (2) shall already be applicable if he attempts to induce the other to:

1. violate his duties by the act; or

2. to the extent the act is within his discretion, to allow himself to be influenced by the benefit in the exercise of his discretion.

Section 335 Especially Serious Cases of Taking or Offering Bribes

(1) In especially serious cases:

1. an act under:

a) Section 332 subsection (1), sent. 1, also in conjunction with subsection (3); and

b) Section 334 subsection (1), sent. 1, and subsection (2), respectively also in conjunction with subsection (3),shall be punished with imprisonment from one year to ten years; and

2. an act under Section 332 subsection (2), also in conjunction with subsection (3), shall be punished with imprisonment for not less than two years.

(2) An especially serious case within the meaning of subsection (1) exists, as a rule, when:

1. the act relates to a benefit of great magnitude;

2. the perpetrator continuously accepts benefits which he demanded in return for the fact that he would perform an official act in the future; or

3. the perpetrator acts professionally or as a member of a gang which has combined for the continued commission of such acts.

Police Background Check Procedures

Who can apply?

• Only applicants must apply and in person.
• If applicant lacks legal capacity to do so, a representative with legal statute may apply on their behalf (Contact Federal Office of Justice in Bonn for further details).
• Prospective employers may not apply, but can contact the German Federal Office of Justice to verify the authenticity of the document (see below).

Where?

• Local applicants must apply in person at their local registry office within the district of which they are registered.
• Overseas applicants must apply in writing to the Federal Office of Justice in Bonn (see below).

What must the applicant supply?

Local applicants:
• Applications must be made to local registry office (örtliche Meldebehörde or Bürgerbüro)
• Proof of identity (passport or ID card/personalausweis) confirmed with applicant ́s signature
• Indication of purpose of request
• The address details of the organisation which requested the criminal record disclosure (is applicable)
Overseas applicants:
• Proof of identity (passport or ID card/personalausweis) confirmed with applicant ́s signature
• Indication of purpose of request
• The address details of the organisation which requested the criminal record disclosure (is applicable)
• Applicant ́s signature re
quires official certification by a German embassy/consulate, a foreign
authority or notary.
Overseas Applicant must send the application package to Federal Office of Justice in Bonn through.
Applicants are advised to send package as recorded delivery.
Third party representatives require written authorisation from applicant.
What are the costs / turnaround times?
• Local applicants: fee of €13, Payable by cash at local registry office with a turnaround of 1-4 weeks. Some local offices offer a sped up service for an extra €2
• Overseas applicants: Certification of application by German Embassy-fee of £13.50, with at urnaround of up to 2 weeks.
Payment can be made by cheque or transfer to the following account of the Bundeszentralregister:
• Deutsche Bundesbank-Filiale Bonn-Bank code 380 000 00
Account No.: 380 010 05
IBAN-Nr.: DE24 3800 0000 0038 001005
BIC/swift-Nr.: MARKDEF1380
Purpose: (reference number-if known-, or first and last names of the applicant)
• Cheques from European countries must be made out in Euros. Cheques from the UK can be made out in sterling.

Contact Details

Local applicants
must visit their local registry office. Details can be found here: http://www.meldeaemter.de/einwohnermeldeamt.html
(German only)
Overseas applicants can download the form here: https://www.bundesjustizamt.de/DE/SharedDocs/Publikationen/BZR/antrag_en.pdf?__blob=publicationFile&v=9More information is available at:https://www.bundesjustizamt.de/DE/SharedDocs/Publikationen/BZR/antrag_en.pdf?__blob=publication File&v=9
The application for overseas applicants should be sent to:
Bundesamt für Justiz
Bundeszentralregister
Referat IV 2
53094 Bonn
Embassy of the Federal
Republic of Germany
23 Belgrave Square
Chesham Place
SW1X 8PZ
Monday-Thursday 08:30–17:00 & Friday 08:30–15:30
Tel: 020 7824 1300
Fax: 020 7824 1435
Email: info@london.diplo.de
Website: www.london.diplo.de

Germany – Know Your Customer (KYC) Rules

While not an offshore financial center, Germany is one of the largest financial centers in Europe. Although not a major drug producing country, Germany continues to be a consumer and a major transit hub for narcotics. Organized criminal groups involved in drug trafficking and other illegal activities are an additional source of laundered funds in Germany.

Trends in money laundering include electronic payment systems; financial agents, i.e., persons who are solicited to make their private accounts available for money laundering transactions; and trade in CO2 emission certificates. Free Zones of control type I exist in Bremerhaven, Cuxhaven, and Hamburg, i.e., freeports. Deggendorf and Duisburg are control type II Free Zones (unfenced inland ports).

KNOW-YOUR-CUSTOMER (KYC) RULES:

Enhanced due diligence procedures for PEPs:

A PEP is an abbreviation for Politically Exposed Person, a term that describes a person who has been entrusted with a prominent public function, or an individual who is closely related to such a person. The terms PEP, Politically Exposed Person and Senior Foreign Political Figure are often used interchangeably

    • Foreign PEP: YES
    • Domestic PEP: NO

Germany – KYC covered entities

The following is a list of Know Your Customer entities covered by German Law:

    • Credit institutions
    • Financial services institutions
    • Payment institutions and e-money institutions as well as their agents
    • Financial enterprises
    • Insurance companies and intermediaries
    • Investment companies
    • Lawyers
    • Legal advisers
    • Auditors
    • Chartered accountants
    • Tax advisers and tax agents
    • Trust or company service providers
    • Real estate agents
    • Casinos
    • Persons trading in goods

Germany – Suspicious Transaction Reporting (STR) Requirements:

Number of STRs received and time frame: 11,042 in 2010

The following is a list of STR covered entities covered by German Law:

    • Credit institutions
    • Financial services institutions
    • Payment institutions and e-money institutions as well as their agents
    • Financial enterprises
    • Insurance companies and intermediaries
    • Investment companies
    • Lawyers
    • Legal advisers
    • Auditors
    • Chartered accountants
    • Tax advisers and tax agents
    • Trust or company service providers
    • Real estate agents
    • Casinos
    • Persons trading in goods

MONEY LAUNDERING CRIMINAL PROSECUTIONS/CONVICTIONS:

Prosecutions: 684 in 2010
Convictions: 606 in 2010

ENFORCEMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION ISSUES AND COMMENTS:

Germany strengthened its AML/CFT regime in 2011, including by: amending AML/CFT provisions governing the financial sector through the Act to Implement the Second E-Money Directive which entered into force at the end of April 2011; extending the list of predicate offenses to include market manipulation, product piracy and insider trading through the Act to Improve the Combating of Money Laundering and Tax Evasion, effective May 3, 2011; clarifying the powers – such as the right to obtain information and enter premises – of the supervisory authorities responsible for non-financial institutions; and submitting the draft Act to Optimize the Prevention of Money Laundering to the German parliament, with adoption envisaged before the end of 2011. While Germany has no automatic CTR requirement, large currency transactions frequently trigger a STR.

Tipping off is a criminal offense only if it is committed with the intent to support money laundering or obstruct justice, and applies only to previously-filed STRs. Otherwise, it is an administrative offense that carries a fine of up to € 50,000 (approximately $68,000) under the Money Laundering Act; draft legislation would increase the fine up to € 100,000 (approximately $133,000). Legal persons are only covered by the Administrative Offenses Act, and are not criminally liable under the Criminal Code.

The numbers of prosecutions and convictions included in this report only reflect cases in which the money laundering violation carried the highest penalty of all the crimes of which the offender was convicted.

Notably, on March 10, 2011, a German-Lebanese criminal group was sentenced for laundering money from narcotics sales throughout Europe by transporting it to Lebanon. Assets amounting to € 9.2 million (approximately $12.271 million) were forfeited. Germany has no federal statistics on the amount of assets forfeited in criminal money laundering cases. Assets can be forfeited as part of a criminal trial or through administrative procedures such as claiming back taxes.

Germany should become a party to the UN Convention against Corruption.

Risk

Sovereign risk

Germany’s stock of public debt is comparatively high, but its budget is in surplus. Established political and public support for fiscal discipline reduces domestic risk to the public finances. However, bank bail-out costs may rise and continued use of the sovereign balance sheet to support the euro zone would strain creditworthiness.

Banking sector risk

Banks have significant exposure to peripheral euro zone debt, which could lead to losses over time. There are some concerns about smaller regional lenders. Reforms to strengthen the banking sector are under way, but low profitability, high leverage and fragile balance sheets will remain a concern.

Political risk

The Economist Intelligence Unit expects the grand coalition of the centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU)/Christian Social Union (CSU) and the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) to last its full four-year term to 2017. The re-election of the CDU chancellor, Angela Merkel, provides a degree of stability, although there has been a slight leftward shift, both in parliament and in policy.

Economic structure risk

Over-dependence on exports, especially of capital and transport goods, exposes Germany to any external downturn. Private consumption has strengthened, but any fundamental change in the growth model away from exports and towards consumption is some way off.

Travel Risk

Security

The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The purpose of this Travel Advice is to provide up-to-date information to enable you to make well-informed decisions.

Be vigilant and aware of your surroundings at all times, and maintain a high level of personal security awareness. Monitor local media and follow the advice of local authorities. Consult our Global Issues page for information on the security situation in Europe.

Crime

Violent crime in Germany is low. However, petty crime (mugging, pickpocketing and purse snatching) occurs in major cities and train stations, airports and Christmas markets.

Pickpockets often work in teams and target trains, railway stations and airports. Their methods include distracting the attention of a victim who is boarding or alighting from a train or surrounding the victim in line-ups or at check-in counters.

Extremist youth gangs are a threat, particularly in some smaller urban areas and in parts of former East Germany. Gang members have been known to harass or attack individuals because of their race or for looking œforeign.

Arson attacks on parked vehicles have occurred.

Terrorism

The Government of Germany maintains a public alert system on terrorism. Visit the website of the German Federal Ministry of the Interior for more information. Continue to exercise normal security precautions.

Demonstrations

Demonstrations occur and have the potential to suddenly turn violent. Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media.

Strikes may occasionally interfere with mail, telephone, transport and other services.

Transportation

Roads and public transportation are excellent in the west and good throughout the east.

Rail service is widely available and reliable.

See Transportation Safety in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.

General safety measures

Exercise normal safety precautions. Ensure that personal belongings, passports and other travel documents are secure at all times.

Emergency services

Dial 112 for emergency assistance. Dial 110 In the event of a traffic accident.

Address Format

RECIPIENT

STREET_NAME HOUSE_NUMBER
POSTAL_CODE LOCALITY
GERMANY

Sample

Thomas Michel
Röntgenstr. 9
67133 MAXDORF
GERMANY

Summary

Calendar GMT Reference Actual Previous Consensus Forecast
2015-02-13 07:00 AM Q4 1.6% 1.2% 1.0% 1.49%
2015-02-24 07:00 AM Q4 1.6% 1.2% 1.5% 1.6%
2015-05-13 07:00 AM Q1 1.1% 1.6% 1.2% 1.31%
2015-05-22 07:00 AM Q1 1.6% 1.0% 1.1%
2015-08-14 07:00 AM Q2 1.15%
2015-08-25 07:00 AM Q2

 

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