Department of Justice Seal



***NOTE: The Attorney General often deviates from his prepared remarks.

I welcome my good friend, Home Secretary David Blunkett, to Washington. I would like to begin by thanking him personally for the superb cooperation that we receive from the United Kingdom.

The United Kingdom and the United States have a long cooperative history in law enforcement that has only been strengthened since the tragedy of September 11th. Our two countries are united in our mutual respect for the rule of law and love of freedom.

We are here today to sign two significant bilateral agreements aimed at promoting even greater cooperation between the United Kingdom and the United States in the area of law enforcement. First, we are signing a new bilateral extradition treaty. Second, we have reached an agreement on asset forfeiture assistance and asset sharing.

The Home Secretary and I are keenly aware of the responsibility we share to preserve the safety and security of our citizens and our nations. Bilateral and multilateral cooperation and coordination are essential to our success in fighting crime that routinely crosses borders and continents.

Our new extradition treaty will give us more flexibility and efficiency in ensuring that fugitive criminals can be brought to justice in the country whose laws they have violated and whose people and institutions they have harmed. The treaty covers criminal conduct from white collar crime and fraud, to organized crime, money laundering, and terrorism. The new treaty we are signing today should serve as a model to the world for successful and efficient cooperation in bringing international fugitives to justice.

We are also signing an asset sharing agreement this morning. It is an agreement designed to expand and enhance our joint efforts to trace and confiscate the illegal profits of criminal activity. Transnational criminal organizations threaten the safety and security of both of our nations. Whether they engage in drug trafficking or racketeering or acts of terrorism, seizing their funds and assets serves to cripple and dismantle their operations.

The United Kingdom and the United States have historically enjoyed a productive relationship in the area of asset forfeiture. Our new agreement gives full recognition to the significance of such cooperative efforts by authorizing the sharing of assets between our countries based on the full range of assistance we provide one another in identifying, seizing, and forfeiting the assets of crime. Today's agreement is based on the model we developed together in the context of the G-8. It is our hope that our action today will encourage other countries to undertake similar agreements with their partner nations in the war against crime.

Once again, I am honored to join the Home Secretary in signing the new extradition treaty and the asset sharing agreement between the United Kingdom and the United States. I am pleased that our negotiating efforts have met with such success, and I would like to extend my thanks to our experts for their fine work.