Extradition & Transnational Crime
The globalisation of criminal conduct and the ease with which individuals and their assets can move around the world mean that the investigation and prosecution of major cases (eg fraud, corruption, price-fixing and money-laundering) has become increasingly international. To combat this rise in international crime, recent years have seen a significant increase in the co-operation between different national law enforcement authorities through the mutual legal assistance (“MLA”) regime and simpler extradition procedures. However, this remains a complex area, often involving difficult multi-jurisdictional issues.
Those facing investigation in more than one jurisdiction need co-ordinated advice not only in relation to their potential criminal liability but also in relation to their ability to travel. Whether through Interpol, the European Arrest Warrant or border watch-lists, those under suspicion are increasingly at risk of detention not only in the primary jurisdictions that are investigating them but also in any other country that has entered into formal arrangements with the primary states. The importance of obtaining specialist advice in this multi-faceted area cannot be over-stated.
UK law enforcement authorities (including the SFO, the FCA and HMR&C) have the ability to obtain evidence from overseas through MLA arrangements using a Letter of Request. Similarly, the UK authorities regularly assist their overseas counterparts in connection with the investigation of offences abroad. Indeed, for international fraud cases, the SFO has a dedicated MLA unit. MLA co-operation can also extend to the freezing or restraint of assets in the UK or abroad.
BCL’s recognised expertise puts us at the forefront of UK lawyers best able to advise those involved in international criminal investigations and related areas. Over many years, we have developed extensive contacts and close working relationships with similarly specialist lawyers around the world, which is essential to ensure that our clients, be they an individual or a multinational organisation, get the best possible representation in this demanding and constantly developing area.