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They are never convenient but are frequently unavoidable now in Switzerland: internal investigations. They are useful when companies or authorities are tipped off regarding suspected internal misconduct and wish to rapidly get to the bottom of the matter – whether on their own initiative, required by authorities or in response to public pressure. The range of issues is broad, including corruption, fraud, embezzlement, data theft, disclosure of business secrets, regulatory breaches to sexual harassment. If the matter cannot be clarified in-house, due for example to conflicts of interest between departments or insufficient experience or resources, an external law firm is commissioned to carry out the “internal” investigation.

VISCHER provides discrete, targeted and efficient support in such cases. Our Investigations team has extensive experience in conducting internal investigations in accordance with international standards, employing state-of-the-art technologies. The primary focus is generally on establishing the facts, for example by reviewing e-mails and other documents, interviewing the parties involved and conducting forensic analyses. The VISCHER specialists cover a wide spectrum of areas, including white-collar crime, labour law, regulated markets, tax, accounting, compliance and corporate governance. Our team members cooperate with external experts when conducting IT forensics. As a Swiss law firm, VISCHER is subject to the attorney-client privilege.

Investigations can be expensive, which is why many companies are reluctant to pursue them – and some have had bad experiences working with other providers. We understand that, which is why our approach is to work with them as partners and with a sense of proportion. We know how to get results while keeping cost under control.

Cross-border data transfers for legal and regulatory proceedings: a minefield 

Our team members will also be pleased to assist you when you need to provide e-mails, documents or other data to foreign authorities or for court proceedings in other countries. Our team members have extensive experience in this area as well, which is known as “eDiscovery”. They will be glad to inform you and your foreign counsel of the requirements under Swiss data protection law, how to protect third-party and proprietary business secrets and avoid criminal liability under the dreaded Art. 271 of Criminal Code. They can assist you with the practical implementation, including the preservation, collection, review and any necessary redaction of documents within your own organisation. You do not have to have your own systems for these activities, as we can provide them as well as the staff necessary for such projects on favourable terms. We can also serve as expert witness on Swiss law before foreign courts.

Our Investigation & eDiscovery services:

  • Internal investigations pertaining to any legal area
  • Reporting to authorities and other parties
  • Representation vis-à-vis authorities in Switzerland and abroad
  • Preservation of evidence in cooperation with experts and partner law firms
  • Conducting reviews of e-mail and documents
  • Conducting interviews with persons involved
  • Advice on preparations for and conducting of eDiscovery projects, including Technology Assisted Reviews (TARs) and cost containment measures
  • Advice on implementing whistleblower hotlines and other compliance-related measures
  • Overseeing foreign investigations as Swiss Counsel
  • Redacting of documents for confidentiality and data protection reasons
  • Legal advice on cross-border data transfers to foreign authorities
  • Approvals per Art. 271 of Swiss Criminal Code
  • Expert witness statements for foreign court proceedings in respect of requirements under Swiss law

"In internal investigations and eDiscovery, the main thing that counts is experience of how it is really done."

David Rosenthal, Head, Investigations & eDiscovery

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