Australia-U.S. Cooperation in Criminal Cases
U.S. criminal law has a long reach outside the borders of the United States. Australian companies and individuals whose activities touch on the United States—even without having offices or any physical presence in the United States—have the potential to appear on the radar of U.S. enforcement authorities. As some recent U.S. cases show, U.S. and Australian authorities are both increasingly willing to utilise their shared ability to cooperate in investigations of white collar and corporate crime.
This White Paper examines the treaty framework between Australia and the United States, by which one country can request and obtain evidence for use in a criminal proceeding or seek to extradite a person to stand trial or serve a criminal sentence. The applicable procedures for mutual legal assistance are then examined, including by way of comparison with procedures available to U.S. regulators seeking civil penalties. This is followed by an overview of relevant legal privileges and protections which apply to mutual assistance requests, together with some concluding observations and practical considerations for Australian corporations and their directors and officers.
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