TREATIES AND OTHER INTERNATIONAL ACTS SERIES 13046
MUTUAL LEGAL ASSISTANCE
Treaty Between the
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
and the RUSSIAN FEDERATION
Signed at Moscow June 17, 1999
NOTE BY THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Pursuant to Public Law 89—497, approved July 8, 1966
(80 Stat. 271; 1 U.S.C. 113)—
“. . .the Treaties and Other International Acts Series issued
under the authority of the Secretary of State shall be competent
evidence . . . of the treaties, international agreements other than
treaties, and proclamations by the President of such treaties and
international agreements other than treaties, as the case may be,
therein contained, in all the courts of law and equity and of maritime
jurisdiction, and in all the tribunals and public offices of the
United States, and of the several States, without any further proof
or authentication thereof.”
Mutual Legal Assistance
Treaty signed at Moscow June 17, 1999;
Transmitted by the President of the United States of America
to the Senate February 10, 2000 (Treaty Doc. 106-22,
106th Congress, 2d Session);
Reported favorably by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
December 12, 2001 (Senate Executive Report No. 107-3,
107th Congress, 1st Session);
Advice and consent to ratification by the Senate
December 19, 2001;
Ratified by the President January 18, 2002;
Ratified by the Russian Federation November 3, 2000;
Ratifications exchanged at Washington January 31, 2002;
Entered into force January 31, 2002.
With related notes.
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION
MUTUAL LEGAL ASSISTANCE IN CRIMINAL MATTERS
The United States of America and the Russian Federation (hereinafter referred to as
Striving to broaden and deepen American-Russian cooperation to prevent and fight
against crime, and
Reaffirming their determination to enhance legal assistance in criminal matters,
Have agreed as follows:
1. The Parties shall provide to each other, in accordance with this Treaty,
comprehensive mutual legal assistance in criminal matters.
2. For the purposes of this Treaty, legal assistance in criminal matters shall mean any
assistance provided by the Parties in connection with: prevention, suppression, and
investigation of crimes; criminal prosecutions; and other proceedings related to such
3. Legal assistance shall be provided in accordance with the provisions of this Treaty
where the conduct that is the subject of the request constitutes a crime under the laws of
both Parties. The Requested Party may, in its discretion, also provide legal assistance
where the conduct that is the subject of the request would not constitute a crime under
the laws of the Requested Party.
4. This Treaty is intended solely for cooperation and legal assistance between the
Parties. The provisions of this Treaty shall not give rise to a right on the part of any other
persons to obtain evidence, to have evidence excluded, or to impede the execution of a
5. For purposes of this Treaty, the term "person" shall mean both individuals and
legal entities in the following articles: Article 1(4), Article 2(4), Article 5(3) subparagraphs
1-5, Article 10(1), Article 14, and Article 15(2).
SCOPE OF LEGAL ASSISTANCE
Legal assistance under this Treaty shall include:
(1) obtaining testimony and statements;
(2) providing documents, records, and other items;
(3) serving documents;
(4) locating and identifying persons and items;
(5) executing requests for searches and seizures;
(6) transferring persons in custody for testimony or other purposes under this
(7) locating and immobilizing assets for purposes of forfeiture, restitution, or
collection of fines; and
(8) providing any other legal assistance not prohibited by the laws of the
CENTRAL AUTHORITIES AND PROCEDURES
1. Each Party shall implement the provisions of this Treaty, including the making and
receiving of requests, through its Central Authority.
2. For the United States of America, the Central Authority shall be the Attorney
General or persons designated by the Attorney General. For the Russian Federation, the
Central Authority shall be the Office of the Procurator General of the Russian Federation
or persons designated by the Procurator General.
3. The Central Authorities shall communicate directly with one another for the
purposes of this Treaty and may agree upon such practical measures as may be necessary
to facilitate the implementation of this Treaty.
DENIAL OF LEGAL ASSISTANCE
The Central Authority of the Requested Party may deny legal assistance if:
(1) the request relates to a crime under military law that is not a crime under
general criminal law;
(2) the execution of the request would prejudice the security or other essential
interests of the Requested Party; or
(3) the request does not conform to the requirements of this Treaty.
2. The Requested Party shall not decline execution of a request on the ground of bank
3. Before denying legal assistance pursuant to paragraph 1 of this Article, the Central
Authority of the Requested Party shall consult with the Central Authority of the
Requesting Party to consider whether legal assistance can be given subject to such
conditions as it deems necessary. If the Requesting Party accepts legal assistance subject
to these conditions, it shall comply with the conditions.
4. If the Central Authority of the Requested Party denies legal assistance, it shall
inform the Central Authority of the Requesting Party of the reasons for the denial.
FORM AND CONTENTS OF REQUESTS
FOR LEGAL ASSISTANCE
1. A request for legal assistance shall be in writing, but in urgent situations the Central
Authority of the Requested Party may accept a request in another form. If the request is
not in writing, the request shall be confirmed in writing within ten days of its receipt by
the Requested Party unless the Central Authority of the Requested Party agrees
2. The request shall include:
the identity of the authority on whose behalf the request is made;
a description of the facts and circumstances of the case;
the text of the law under which the conduct constitutes a crime;
a description of the legal assistance sought; and
a statement of the purpose for which the legal assistance is sought.
3. To the extent necessary and possible, a request shall also include:
(1) information on the identity and suspected location of a person to be located;
(2) information on the identity and location of a person to be served, that
person's relationship to the proceeding, and the manner in which service is to
(3) information on the identity and location of a person from whom evidence is
(4) a list of questions to be asked of a person identified in the request;
(5) a precise description of the place or person to be searched and of the item to
(6) a description of procedures for the execution of the request;
(7) information as to the allowances and expenses to which a person asked to
appear in the territory of the Requesting Party will be entitled; and
(8) any other information that may be brought to the attention of the Central
Authority of the Requested Party to facilitate the execution of the request.
4. The request shall be prepared and signed in accordance with the regulations of the
Except as otherwise agreed by the Central Authorities of the Parties, requests for
legal assistance and documents attached thereto shall be accompanied by a translation
into the language of the Requested Party.
EXECUTION OF REQUESTS
1. The Central Authority of the Requested Party shall promptly execute the request or
shall transmit it to the authority having jurisdiction to do so. The competent authorities
of the Requested Party shall do everything in their power to execute the request in a
2. The Central Authority of the Requested Party shall represent the interests of the
Requesting Party in executing the request.
3. Requests shall be executed in accordance with the laws of the Requested Party
except if this Treaty provides otherwise. The competent authorities of the Requested
Party shall have the authority to issue subpoenas, search warrants, or other orders
necessary for the execution of requests. Except if prohibited by its laws, the Requested
Party shall follow procedures specified in the request
4. If the Central Authority of the Requested Party considers that execution of a
request will interfere with a criminal investigation, criminal prosecution, or proceeding
related to a criminal matter ongoing in that State, it may postpone execution, or make
execution subject to conditions determined to be necessary after consultations with the
Central Authority of the Requesting Party. If the Requesting Party accepts the legal
assistance subject to these conditions, it shall comply with the conditions.
5. The Requested Party shall use its best efforts to keep confidential a request and its
contents if so requested by the Central Authority of the Requesting Party. If execution of
the request would require a breach of this confidentiality, the Central Authority of the
Requested Party shall so inform the Central Authority of the Requesting Party, which
shall then determine whether the request should be executed under such circumstances.
6. The Central Authority of the Requested Party shall respond to inquiries by the
Central Authority of the Requesting Party concerning progress toward execution of the
7. Upon request of the Central Authority of the Requesting Party, the Central
Authority of the Requested Party shall furnish information in advance about the date and
place of the execution of a request. During the execution of a request, the Requested
Party shall permit the presence of such persons as are specified therein.
8. The Central Authority of the Requested Party shall promptly inform the Central
Authority of the Requesting Party of the outcome of the execution of the request. If the
request is not executed, or if execution is delayed or postponed, the Central Authority of
the Requested Party shall inform the Central Authority of the Requesting Party of the
reasons for non-execution, delay, or postponement
1. The Requested Party shall pay all costs relating to the execution of the request,
except that the Requesting Party shall pay for the fees of experts, the costs of translation,
interpretation, and transcription, and the allowances and expenses related to travel of
persons pursuant to Articles 11 and 12 of this Treaty.
2. If it becomes apparent that the execution of the request requires expenses of an
extraordinary nature, the Central Authorities of the Parties shall consult to determine the
terms and conditions under which the requested legal assistance can be provided.
LIMITATIONS ON USE
OF THE RESULTS OF EXECUTED REQUESTS
1. The Central Authority of the Requested Party may require that the Requesting
Party not use the results of the execution of a request obtained under this Treaty for
purposes other than those described in the request without the prior consent of the
Central Authority of the Requested Party. In such cases, the Requesting Party shall
comply with such limitations on use of the results of the executed request
2. Nothing in this Article shall preclude the use or disclosure of the results of an
executed request to the extent that there is an obligation to do so under the Constitution
of the Requesting Party in a criminal prosecution. The Central Authority of the
Requesting Party shall notify the Central Authority of the Requested Party in advance of
any such possible or proposed use or disclosure.
3. The results of an executed request that have been used for the purpose for which
they were provided and, in the course of such use, have been made public in the
Requesting Party in accordance with this Treaty may thereafter be used for any purpose.
OBTAINING TESTIMONY AND EVIDENCE IN
THE REQUESTED PARTY
1. A person requested to testify and produce documents, records, or items in the
Requested Party shall be summoned, if necessary by subpoena or order, to appear and
testify and produce such documents, records, or items, in accordance with the
requirements of the law of the Requested Party.
2. In accordance with procedures used in the Requested Party, persons present at the
execution of a request shall be permitted to pose questions directly or to formulate
questions that shall be posed to the person being questioned, and to make a verbatim
transcript of the proceeding using, if necessary, technical means.
3. If the person referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article asserts a claim of immunity,
incapacity, or privilege under the laws of the Requesting Party, the evidence shall
nonetheless be taken and the claim made known to the Requesting Party for resolution by
the authorities of the Requesting Party.
OBTAINING TESTIMONY IN
THE REQUESTING PARTY
1. When the Requesting Party requests the appearance of a person in its territory, the
Requested Party shall invite the person to appear before the appropriate authority in the
Requesting Party. The Requesting Party shall indicate the extent to which the expenses
and allowances will be paid. The Central Authority of the Requested Party shall
promptly inform the Central Authority of the Requesting Party of the response of the
person. A person who agrees to appear may ask that the Requesting Party advance
money to cover these expenses. This advance may be provided through the Embassy or a
consulate of the Requesting Party.
2. A person appearing in the Requesting Party pursuant to this Article shall not be
subject to service of process, or be detained or subjected to any restriction of personal
liberty, by reason of any acts or convictions that preceded the person's departure from
the Requested Party. If such guarantee cannot be provided for any reason, the Central
Authority of the Requesting Party shall indicate this in the request in order to inform the
invited person and to allow that person to decide whether to appear taking these
circumstances into account.
3. The safe conduct provided for by this Article shall cease seven days after the
Central Authority of the Requesting Party has notified the Central Authority of the
Requested Party that the person's presence is no longer required, or if the person has left
the Requesting Party and voluntarily returned to it. The Central Authority of the
Requesting Party may, in its discretion, extend this period up to fifteen days if it
determines that there is good cause to do so.
TRANSFER OF PERSONS
1. A person in the custody of either Party whose presence in the other Party is sought
for purposes of legal assistance under this Treaty shall be transferred from the sending
Party to the receiving Party for that purpose if the person consents and if the Central
Authorities of both Parties agree.
2. For the purposes of this Article:
(1) the receiving Party shall have the authority and the obligation to keep the
person transferred in custody unless otherwise authorized by the sending
(2) the receiving Party shall return the person transferred to the custody of the
sending Party as soon as circumstances permit or as otherwise agreed by
both Central Authorities;
(3) the receiving Party shall not require the sending Party to initiate extradition
proceedings for the return of the person transferred;
(4) the person transferred shall receive credit for service of the sentence imposed
in the sending Party for time served in the custody of the receiving Party;
(5) where the sentence imposed expires, or where the sending Party advises the
receiving Party that the transferred person is no longer required to be held in
custody, that person shall be treated as a person invited pursuant to Article
11 or returned to the sending Party.
PRODUCTION OF OFFICIAL RECORDS
1. Upon request, the Requested Party shall provide the Requesting Party with copies
of publicly available records, including documents or information of any nature and in
any form in the possession of an executive, legislative, or judicial authority in the
2. The Requested Party may provide copies of any records, including documents or
information of any nature and in any form that are in the possession of an executive,
legislative, or judicial authority in that Party, but that are not publicly available, but only
to the same extent and under the same conditions as such records would be available to
the competent authorities of that Party. The Requested Party may in its discretion deny a
request pursuant to this paragraph entirely or in part.
LOCATION OR IDENTIFICATION OF
PERSONS AND ITEMS
If the Requesting Party seeks the location or identity of persons or information
about items in the Requested Party, the Requested Party shall use its best efforts to
execute the request.
SERVICE OF DOCUMENTS
1. The Requested Party shall use its best efforts to effect service of documents
pursuant to a request.
2. The Requesting Party shall transmit any request for the service of a document
requiring the appearance of a person before a competent authority in the Requesting
Party a reasonable time before the scheduled appearance.
3. The Requested Party shall return to the Requesting Party a proof of service in the
manner specified in the request.
SEARCH AND SEIZURE
1. The Requested Party shall execute a request for the search, seizure, and transfer of
any item to the Requesting Party if the request includes the information justifying such
action under the laws of the Requested Party.
2. If requested, every official of the Requested Party who has had custody of a seized
item shall certify the identity of the item, the continuity of its custody, and the integrity of
3. The Requested Party may require that the Requesting Party agree to the terms and
conditions deemed necessary to protect third party interests in the item to be transferred.
TRANSFER OF DOCUMENTS, RECORDS,
AND OTHER ITEMS
1. When a request for legal assistance concerns the transfer of documents or records,
the Requested Party shall transfer true copies thereof, unless the Requesting Party
expressly requests the originals, in which case the Requested Party shall make every
effort to comply with the request.
2. Insofar as not prohibited by its laws, the Requested Party shall transfer documents,
records, or other items in such manner or accompanied by such certification as may be
requested by the Requesting Party in order to make them admissible according to the law
of the Requesting Party. For this purpose, the Central Authorities of the Parties shall
exchange information pursuant to Article 3(3) with respect to the requirements for
admissibility in their respective legal systems. Documents, records, and other items
transferred as requested under this paragraph shall require no further certification to
make them admissible.
3. The Central Authority of the Requested Party may require that the Central
Authority of the Requesting Party return, as soon as possible, any documents, records, or
other items furnished to it in execution of a request under this Treaty.
PROCEEDS AND INSTRUMENTALITIES
1. The Parties, in accordance with their laws, shall assist each other in locating,
immobilizing, and seizing proceeds, including earnings from, or that are the result of,
criminal activities, as well as instrumentalities of crime, for the purpose of: forfeiture;
restitution to victims of crime; and collection of fines imposed pursuant to judicial
decisions in criminal matters.
2. If the Central Authority of one Party becomes aware that proceeds and
instrumentalities of crime that may be subject to forfeiture are located in the territory of
the other Party, it may so inform the Central Authority of the other Party so that the
other Party may take appropriate measures under paragraph 3 of this Article. The
Central Authority receiving the information shall notify the Central Authority providing
the information of the action taken.
3. The Party that has immobilized, seized, or forfeited the proceeds and
instrumentalities of crime shall dispose of them in accordance with its laws. That Party
shall transfer all or part of such assets, or the proceeds of their sale, to the other Party,
including for the purpose of forfeiture and restitution (which includes returning them to
the rightful owner) insofar as permitted by its laws and to the extent it deems it
appropriate and within the time frame and under the conditions it deems acceptable.
The Central Authorities shall consult, at times mutually agreed to by them, to
promote the most effective use of this Treaty.ARTICLE 20
SCOPE OF APPLICATION
This Treaty shall apply to any requests presented after its entry into force even if
the relevant acts or omissions occurred before that date.
OTHER LEGAL BASES FOR COOPERATION
The provisions in this Treaty shall not prevent either of the Parties from
cooperating and from granting legal assistance in accordance with the provisions of other
applicable international treaties and agreements, national laws, and practices.
ENTRY INTO FORCE AND TERMINATION
1. This Treaty shall be subject to ratification, and shall enter into force upon the
exchange of the instruments of ratification, which shall take place as soon as possible.
2. Upon entry into force of this Treaty, the Agreement between the Government of the
United States of America and the Government of the Russian Federation on Cooperation
in Criminal Matters, signed on June 30, 1995, shall no longer be in force.
3. Either Party may terminate this Treaty by means of written notice to the other
Party through the diplomatic channel. Termination shall take effect six months following
the date of receipt of such notification.
DONE at Moscow, this 17th
day of June, 1999, in duplicate,
in the English and Russian languages, both texts being equally authentic.
FOR THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: FOR THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION:
EMBASSY OF THE
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
LES/063 Moscow, June 17, 1999
I have the honor to refer to the treaty between the United States of
America and the Russian Federation on Mutual Legal Assistance in
Criminal Matters (the "Treaty",) signed on this date.
In connection with the treaty, my government notes that during its
negotiation the United States delegation agreed to delete from Article 4(1)
its proposal for the inclusion of an express reference to a "political offense"
exception among the bases for denial of assistance under the treaty. In
so doing, the United States took into account the view of the Russian
delegation that the term "political offense" is not used in Russian law and
that Article 4(1) (2) of the treaty provided an adequate basis upon which to
deny assistance requests in cases the United States would consider
"political offenses." Article 4(1) (2) permits each party to deny assistance
if the execution of the request would prejudice the "security or other
essential interests" of the requested party. I hereby confirm that it is the
view of the United States that Article 4(1) (2) is sufficient to meet the
Minister of Foreign Affairs,
The Russian Federation.
- 2 -
concerns of the United States in this area, and the United States will
implement the treaty accordingly.
Accept, Excellency, the renewed assurances of my highest
DEPARTMENT OF STATE
OFFICE OF LANGUAGE SERVICES
LS No. 0992972
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
of the United States of America
in the Russian Federation
Moscow, September 22, 1999
I have the honor to confirm receipt of your note no. LES/063 of June 17, 1999,
concerning the Treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on
Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters signed on June 17, 1999, which [note] reads as
[The Russian translation of the aforesaid note corresponds in all substantive respects to
the text of the English original, with the following exception:
English: ...is sufficient to meet the concerns of the United States in this area...
Russian [translated]: ...is sufficient grounds for concern in this area...]
I have the honor to report that the Russian side shares the understanding in regard to
Article 4(1)(2) set forth in the above-mentioned note.
Please accept, Your Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.
[s] A. Avdeyev
/Stamp of the RF Ministry of Foreign Affairs/
DEPARTMENT OF STATE
OFFICE OF LANGUAGE SERVICES
LS No. 1000193
MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation presents its compliments to the
Embassy of the United States of America and, referring to its note no. 3729 of September 22,
1999, concerning paragraph 1(2) of Article 4 of the Treaty between the Russian Federation and
the United States of America on Cooperation in Criminal Law Matters, has the honor to request
that the final sentence in the first paragraph on the second page of the aforesaid note read as
follows: "I hereby confirm that, from the viewpoint of the United States, paragraph 1(2) of
Article 4 is sufficient to meet the concern in this area, and that the United States will apply this
The Ministry avails itself of this opportunity to renew to the Embassy the assurances of
its high consideration.
October 20, 1999
/Stamp of the MFA of the Russian Federation/
To the Embassy of the United States of America