FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
MONDAY, MARCH 31, 2003
TDD (202) 514-1888
UNITED STATES - UNITED KINGDOM EXTRADITION TREATY AND ASSET SHARING AGREEMENT SIGNED TO ENHANCE LAW ENFORCEMENT EFFORTS
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Attorney General John Ashcroft and Home Secretary of the United Kingdom David Blunkett today signed a new bilateral extradition treaty and an agreement on asset forfeiture assistance and asset sharing to greatly enhance the fight against terrorism and transnational crime. The two documents are aimed at promoting even greater cooperation between the United Kingdom and the United States in the area of law enforcement.
“Both 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,” said Attorney General Ashcroft. “Bilateral and multilateral cooperation and coordination are essential to our success in fighting crime that routinely crosses borders and continents.”
“This agreement sends a strong signal to criminals that we will not be thwarted by international boundaries,” said Mr. Blunkett. “This agreement shows how closely we are working together to confiscate assets and enforce our laws.”
Bilateral and multilateral cooperation and coordination are essential to the success of international law enforcement efforts. The new extradition treaty will give the two countries more flexibility to ensure that fugitive criminals can be brought to justice in either country. It covers criminal conduct, from white collar crime and fraud to organized crime, money laundering and terrorism.
The asset sharing agreement signed today is designed to expand and enhance our joint efforts to trace and confiscate the proceeds and instrumentalities of criminal activity. The agreement targets transnational criminal organizations that engage in drug trafficking, racketeering or acts of terrorism which threaten the safety and security of the two nations. It allows the United States and United Kingdom to seize the money and other assets which allow these organizations to function and to carry out crimes.
In the United States, asset seizure and forfeiture laws have proven effective at crippling illegal operations and dismantling criminal enterprises. The agreement is based on the model developed in the context of the G-8. It is hoped that this agreement will encourage other countries to undertake similar agreements.