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Linklaters' German alliance firm Oppenhoff & Radler has poached a Clifford Chance Punder partner to help set up its new white collar crime department.
Kai Hart-Haenig left Punders' Frankfurt office to establish the new department, which will be based in Munich.
Three partners are moving departments to work under Hart-Haenig. Klaus Saffenreuther and Karl Wach are transferring from the firm's complex litigation department and Uwe Claussen is leaving the tax department.
A number of assistants will move to the new department, but it has yet to be finalised who they will be.
A spokesman for Oppenhoffs says: "We are building up a white collar crime department because our clients need special advice on this issue.
"We expect the EU and Germany to develop very harsh punishments for companies involved in white collar crime.
"The government has already hinted at this. So it is a growth area.
"Hart-Haenig chose to join us because he thinks our practice will be more integrated than Punders'."
The spokesman says the white collar crime department will "deal with integrated tax problems".
"The questions that clients have are normally integrated. They normally have complex litigation and tax issues.
"We think integrated thinking can be better answered in the area of white collar crime as well."
Punders' white collar crime department is now run by two Frankfurt-based partners, Jurgen Taschke and Heiner Hugger.
Peter Nagele, European managing partner of Punders, says: "I would not necessarily describe Hart-Haenig as a key partner.
"He is a good man, but his interests could be pursued better at Oppenhoffs where he can establish a white collar crime department from scratch. We already have such a department in our firm."
Nagele says that the lack of a white collar crime department at Oppenhoffs poses a good opportunity for Hart-Haenig because helping to set up a new department will accelerate his career.