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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Treaties and Agreements

International Narcotics Control Strategy Report
Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
March 2004

Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLATs) allow generally for the exchange of evidence and information in criminal and ancillary matters. In money laundering cases, they can be extremely useful as a means of obtaining banking and other financial records from our treaty partners. MLATs, which are negotiated by the Department of State in cooperation with the Department of Justice to facilitate cooperation in criminal matters, including money laundering and asset forfeiture, are in force with the following countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Brazil, Canada, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Dominica, Egypt, Estonia, France, Grenada, Greece, Hong Kong (SAR), Hungary, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Morocco, the Netherlands, the Netherlands with respect to its Caribbean overseas territories (Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles), Nigeria, Panama, the Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Switzerland, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, the United Kingdom with respect to its Caribbean overseas territories (Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Montserrat, and the Turks and Caicos Islands) and Uruguay. MLATs have been ratified by the United States but not yet brought into force with the European Union and the following countries: Colombia, India, Ireland, Japan, Sweden and Venezuela. The United States has also signed and ratified the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance of the Organization of American States. The United States is actively engaged in negotiating additional MLATS with countries around the world. The United States has also signed executive agreements for cooperation in criminal matters with the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) and Nigeria.

In addition, the United States has entered into executive agreements on forfeiture cooperation, including: (1) an agreement with the United Kingdom providing for forfeiture assistance and asset sharing in narcotics cases; (2) a forfeiture cooperation and asset sharing agreement with the Kingdom of the Netherlands; and (3) a drug forfeiture agreement with Singapore. The United States has asset sharing agreements with Canada, the Cayman Islands (which was extended to Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Montserrat, and the Turks and Caicos Islands), Colombia, Ecuador, Jamaica, Mexico and the United Kingdom.

Financial Information Exchange Agreements (FIEAs) facilitate the exchange of currency transaction information between the U.S. Treasury Department and other finance ministries. The U.S. has FIEAs with Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and Venezuela. Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) or an exchange of letters in place with other financial intelligence units (FIUs) to facilitate the exchange of information between FinCEN and the country's financial intelligence unit. FinCEN has an MOU or an exchange of letters with the FIUs in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, France, Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

Asset Sharing

Pursuant to the provisions of U.S. law, including 18 U.S.C. � 981(i), 21 U.S.C. � 881(e)(1)(E), and 31 U.S.C. � 9703(h)(2), the Departments of Justice, State and Treasury have aggressively sought to encourage foreign governments to cooperate in joint investigations of narcotics trafficking and money laundering, offering the possibility of sharing in forfeited assets. A parallel goal has been to encourage spending of these assets to improve narcotics-related law enforcement. The long-term goal has been to encourage governments to improve asset forfeiture laws and procedures so they will be able to conduct investigations and prosecutions of narcotics trafficking and money laundering which include asset forfeiture. The United States and its partners in the G-8 are currently pursuing a program to strengthen asset forfeiture and sharing regimes. To date, Canada, Cayman Islands, Hong Kong, Jersey, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom have shared forfeited assets with the United States.

From 1989 through December 2003, the international asset sharing program, administered by the Department of Justice, resulted in the net forfeiture in the United States of $433,273,582.25 of which $181,727,532.85 was shared with foreign governments which cooperated and assisted in the investigations. In 2003, the Department of Justice transferred forfeited proceeds to: Dominican Republic ($10,000); Hong Kong (SAR) ($2,898,755.42); and the United Kingdom ($29,761.72). Prior recipients of shared assets (1989-2002) include: Anguilla, Argentina, the Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Cayman Islands, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Greece, Guatemala, Guernsey, Hong Kong (SAR), Hungary, Isle of Man, Israel, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Netherlands Antilles, Paraguay, Romania, South Africa, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom and Venezuela.

From FY 1994 through FY 2003, the international asset sharing program administered by the Department of Treasury shared $24,097,083.00 with foreign governments which cooperated and assisted in investigations. In FY 2003, the Department of Treasury transferred forfeited proceeds to: Australia ($44,958.00) and Canada ($722,477.00). Prior recipients of shared assets (1995-1999) include: Aruba, the Bahamas, Cayman Islands, PRC, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Guernsey, Honduras, Isle of Man, Jersey, Mexico, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Panama, Portugal, Qatar, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

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