Norman Aas, who for several years held leading positions with the Estonian judicial authorities, including State Prosecutor-General and Secretary-General of the Ministry of Justice, is joining law firm Sorainen.
Norman will lead Sorainen’s white-collar crime investigation practice area in Estonia. The aim of this practice area, covering all three Baltic States and Belarus, is to advise businesses that have become victims of white-collar crime or that are seeking to prevent potential violations.
With white-collar crime becoming increasingly complex, especially in the light of several recent cases which have become public, it is vital to assure business owners that potential risks are reduced to a minimum and that the causes and extent of damage resulting from white-collar crime are properly ascertained.
Recently, the Estonian government has taken steps to improve the business environment by increasing the state’s capability of investigating white-collar crime and reforming the system for handling insolvency issues. However, the state alone cannot ensure reliability of the economic environment to a sufficient level. Businesses must also acknowledge what the risks are and how to minimise them. It is best to lay down internal guidelines and operating procedures for acting in high- risk areas such as offering and accepting gifts, conflicts of interest, communicating with officials, and the like.
Every company can choose the most efficient means suitable for its scope and area of operation. Sorainen’s international white-collar crime investigation practice helps businesses to choose and put in place these protective mechanisms. In addition, the team assists businesses which have fallen victim to white-collar crime, for example by establishing damages as well as cooperating with the state authorities to conduct criminal proceedings and claim damages. Norman’s extensive knowledge and experience will also help to strengthen Sorainen’s government relations and administrative law practice in the Baltics and Belarus, headed by Allar Jõks.
In his previous roles, Norman Aas was involved in or witnessed the handling of several complex white-collar crime and corruption cases and is aware of the results of ignoring the potential risks or failing to react in due time in terms of the amount of damage incurred. “It is understandable that the state focuses mainly on proving the guilt of the perpetrator. Consequently, prevention of crime as well as establishing and claiming damages tends to rest with businesses and here our team can help them, relying on our substantial prior experience”, affirms Norman.
Carri Ginter, partner and head of the Sorainen Dispute Resolution Team in the Baltics and Belarus, warmly welcomes Norman Aas to Sorainen. “Several recent cases, including that of the Port of Tallinn, prove that high-level cooperation with investigative bodies is essential and lawyers can be of great help to entrepreneurs in this area. Norman’s extensive experience is a unique resource, which we can now tap to help our clients succeed in business”, says Carri. “The firm is currently working on several cases which relate to handling the consequences of illegal activity by former management board members”, he adds.
Prior to joining Sorainen, Norman Aas was Secretary-General of the Ministry of Justice, managing the daily work of the Ministry as well as the bodies under it. Notes Urmas Reinsalu, Estonia’s Minister of Justice, with some regret, “Our cooperation was very good but I fully understand Norman’s decision to contribute to improved operation of the legal system from a new position. Norman is a highly recognised and experienced lawyer who has substantially contributed to the development of the Estonian legal system as well as to Estonia as a state based on law. I am grateful for his work for the benefit of the country and wish him all the best in his future endeavours”.
In 2005-2014, Norman Aas was State Prosecutor General and for eight years prior to that he held various positions at the Prosecutor’s Office and the Ministry of Justice. Norman is also a valued lecturer and author of articles focusing on penal law and criminal proceedings. He studied at Tartu University faculty of law between 1994 and 1998 and at the faculty of law of Greifswald University between 1999-2001, graduating with a LL.M. summa cum laude.