U.S. Department of State

Treaties and Agreements

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International Narcotics Control Strategy Report
Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
March 2008


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, India, 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 signed by the United States, but not yet brought into force, with the European Union and the following countries: Colombia, 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 and the United Nations Convention against Corruption. 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).


In addition to MLATs, 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, and Mexico.

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 respective country’s FIU. FinCEN has an MOU or an exchange of letters with the FIUs in Argentina, Aruba, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Cayman Islands, Chile, Cyprus, France, Guatemala, Italy, Japan, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Korea, 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, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom have shared forfeited assets with the United States.

From 1989 through December 2007, the international asset sharing program, administered by the Department of Justice, shared $229,080,004.79 with foreign governments that cooperated and assisted in the investigations. In 2007, the Department of Justice transferred $595,539.76 in forfeited proceeds to Canada ($34,513.42), the Cayman Islands ($49,690.09), Germany ($11,336.25) and Honduras ($500,000.00). Prior recipients of shared assets include: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, the Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Cayman Islands, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Greece, Guatemala, Guernsey, Hong Kong (SAR), Hungary, Indonesia, Isle of Man, Israel, Jordan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Netherlands Antilles, Paraguay, Peru, Romania, South Africa, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and Venezuela.

From Fiscal Year (FY) 1994 through FY 2007, the international asset-sharing program administered by the Department of Treasury shared $27,807,012.00 with foreign governments that cooperated and assisted in successful forfeiture investigations. In FY 2007, the Department of Treasury transferred $313,085.00 in forfeited proceeds to Canada ($99,872), China ($10,200), Guernsey ($9,865), and the Isle of Man ($193,148). Prior recipients of shared assets include: Aruba, Australia, the Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Canada, China, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Guernsey, Honduras, Isle of Man, Jersey, Mexico, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Panama, Portugal, Qatar, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

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