What to do in an event of a dawn raid
A dawn raid is an unannounced inspection by a competition or criminal investigatory authority and will have a major impact on your company. It is often the first sign that authorities are investigating your company.
Should you experience a dawn raid, it is vital that you take immediate steps to ensure that your interests are protected. By urgently contacting Loyens & Loeff you will receive advice and support during the entire process.
Step-by-step guide to deal with a dawn raid
Appoint a designated key individual(s) within your company to manage dawn raids, should they ever occur. As soon as the officials arrive, this/these person(s) must be contacted to oversee these steps:
- Immediately contact external lawyers.
- Ensure the officials remain accompanied at all times. Any questions should only be answered in the presence of a lawyer or in-house counsel.
- Ask the officials to wait until the lawyer/s has/have arrived, but do not obstruct the investigation.
- Verify and record the officials’ identifications (names & ID numbers) and their time of arrival.
- Accompany the officials to an empty conference room (one without files or computers).
- Confirm the reasons for the investigation and whether the company is required to comply.
- Contact your IT experts and clarify what information is available on-site.
- When the lawyer/s arrive, provide a full report on everything that has happened up until that point.
- Ask for a copy of all documents gathered by the officials during the dawn raid.
What investigative powers can be used?
During a dawn raid, officials from any of the authorities listed above can exercise the following investigative powers:
- Enter any business premises, grounds or means of transport without prior consent.
- Conduct interviews and ask questions (the presence of (a) lawyer/s is always advised in such circumstances).
- Examine business records that fall within the scope of the investigation.
- Examine formal and informal documents (including emails, notes, minutes, agendas, phone records, social media accounts and text messages).
- Ask for access to physical filing cabinets and desk drawers.
- Take copies or extracts from physical and digital records.
- Seal access to conference rooms or other areas or equipment (breaking or otherwise interfering with official seals, by any person, can result in substantial fines).