Individuals in Cross-Border Investigations or Proceedings: The US Perspective

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41.1 Introduction

Following widespread criticism after the 2008 financial crisis for failing to criminally charge individual wrongdoers, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) implemented a policy shift towards individual accountability, focusing on prosecuting corporate misconduct and financial fraud.[2] This remains a high priority in the United States today, with Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco affirming that individual accountability is the DOJ’s ‘first priority in corporate criminal matters’.[3] By way of example, the DOJ Criminal Division’s Fraud Section charged 333 individuals in 2021, compared with 326 in 2020.[4]

With the ever-increasing globalisation of the world economy, white-collar enforcement against individuals is increasingly cross-border.[5] For example, in 2021, the former chief executive officer of Braskem SA, a publicly traded Brazilian petrochemical company, was charged and found guilty of foreign bribery and securities law violations for crimes involving Brazilian government officials and political parties.[6] For white-collar practitioners, this means representing clients in all corners of the world as they navigate cross-border criminal prosecutions, civil enforcement actions and corporate internal investigations. Although there are important distinctions unique to each, many of the issues discussed in this chapter are common to all three.

41.2 Preliminary considerations

41.2.1 Arrest and bail

The first critical issue counsel face in criminal proceedings is counselling a client through arrest and bail. US authorities have various means for apprehending criminal defendants,[7] including arrest in the United States, arrest in a foreign jurisdiction and extradition to the United States, or using Interpol red notices to detain foreign individuals travelling abroad.[8]

If a client is arrested abroad, counsel should immediately arrange for experienced local counsel. The availability of provisional arrest and bail pending extradition will depend on the laws of the arresting jurisdiction. For US arrests, counsel must arrange for the client to appear in US court and apply for bail.[9]

Typically, an overseas client will wish to return home pending proceedings in the United States. However, the client’s foreign status may be the very thing that hinders the obtainment of a bail package allowing international travel; the court is more likely to find that the client poses a flight risk because of limited US ties.[10] This concern is greater if the client has substantial financial resources or ties to a country that has not executed an extradition treaty with the United States.[11]

Counsel should discuss these risks with the client and obtain a complete understanding of the client’s financial and personal circumstances to submit a bail application that mitigates flight-risk concerns.[12] Even if pretrial release is granted, courts commonly impose stringent conditions to guarantee the defendant’s ongoing appearance.[13]

41.2.2 Preservation of evidence and maintaining confidentiality

Counsel must promptly ascertain whether the client has any physical evidence relating to the matter in question. Counsel should advise clients of the obligation to preserve evidence and consider whether to proactively collect and review such data. Prompt preservation is key, especially given limited retention periods for popular cross-border, ephemeral messaging applications such as WhatsApp.[14]

Counsel must likewise preserve the integrity of the client’s factual recollection and assess whether the client has discussed relevant matters with potential co-defendants or other parties. Clients should be advised not to communicate with any third parties regarding the matters under investigation and, in most cases, to cease communications with co-defendants entirely.[15] Third parties, particularly those with knowledge of the facts under investigation, could be co-operating witnesses or informants, and potentially recording conversations.

41.2.3 Initial conversations with the client

Counsel should meet with the client to assess the facts and available evidence as quickly as possible. These early conversations will inform counsel’s strategy for reviewing evidence, pursuing additional lines of enquiry, assessing strategic options, identifying potential common interest discussions[16] and determining what resources are needed,[17] such as specialised counsel.[18]

41.3 Extradition

It is increasingly important that counsel representing individuals in cross-border proceedings have a working knowledge of extradition law given the increasing frequency with which extradition issues arise, including in white-collar, cross-border proceedings involving Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), money laundering, and securities and commodities law violations.[19] Travel restrictions and court closures caused by the covid-19 pandemic have proven temporary, and matters have begun to resume, often by videoconference rather than in court appearances.[20]

41.3.1 Applicable law

The US government must often rely on the assistance of foreign authorities to secure extradition. While there are technically no limitations on US authorities’ abilities to seek extradition of individuals abroad, the United States typically requests extradition pursuant to treaties, which form the basis for extradition law and procedure.

Signatory states agree to extradite individuals within their jurisdiction who have been charged with an extraditable offence to the requesting state for trial and punishment.[21] Each treaty specifically defines which offences are ‘extraditable’.[22] Most modern treaties permit extradition where the alleged conduct is criminal and punishable as a felony in the signatory states (the ‘dual criminality’ approach).[23] Treaties may also specify which offences are not extraditable (e.g., military offences or those punishable by death).[24]

To date, the United States has bilateral extradition treaties with approximately two-thirds (over 100) of the world’s nations[25] and is party to two multilateral extradition agreements.[26]

41.3.2 Extradition procedure

Extradition procedure is determined by treaty, the responding state’s extradition laws and considerations of diplomacy and foreign policy. Typically, US authorities must first obtain approval from the DOJ’s Office of International Affairs (OIA).[27] The OIA advises prosecutors regarding which filings are required under the applicable treaty, and the US Department of State issues a formal request to the responding state.[28] The responding state’s judiciary then determines whether extradition is permissible[29]

The US government may also seek provisional arrest, namely a request to the responding state to arrest the individual pending submission of a formal extradition request.[30] The DOJ deems provisional arrests appropriate where there is a risk that the individual will flee the foreign jurisdiction.[31] The conditions under which provisional arrest is permissible, and the duration an individual may be held until a formal request is filed,[32] vary by treaty.[33]

The timeline for extradition to the United States varies depending on the circumstances of the case and the responding state involved.[34] Before the covid-19 pandemic, it took, on average, more than a year from the time the formal request was made until the individual was surrendered to US authorities.[35] Covid-19-related delays prolonged the extradition process for many defendants through early 2021,[36] but many jurisdictions have since expanded the use of remote extradition proceedings.[37] While US courts have held that the Speedy Trial Clause of the Sixth Amendment requires that extradition be sought as soon as the individual’s location becomes known, this has no bearing on how long it takes the responding state to surrender the individual according to its laws or because of other considerations.[38]

41.3.3 Strategic options: litigating or waiving extradition

Key factors affecting the decision to litigate or waive extradition include:

  • Strength of available extradition defences: The advisability of litigating extradition turns primarily on whether it can be resisted successfully. While there are several defences available to extradition, they are limited.
  • Strength of evidence in the US criminal case: If the US authorities’ evidence of the charged crimes is strong and there are viable extradition defences, challenging extradition may be the best (and sole) way to avoid criminal liability.[39] If, however, only few or weak extradition defences exist in the face of strong evidence, counsel should consider how best to mitigate eventual liability in the United States, including consenting to extradition in the hope of obtaining a favourable plea offer and sentence.[40] Alternatively, if the client has a strong defence against the underlying charges, he or she may wish to waive extradition, fight the charges in the United States and attempt to assert the rule of specialty should the United States attempt to supersede with additional or more serious charges.[41]
  • The client’s goals: Clients may prefer to defer extradition for personal reasons, even if they are unlikely to succeed in defeating it altogether. For example, if the client has health issues requiring treatment or wants to remain close to relatives, litigating extradition may be prudent. A favourable bail package in the arresting state may also impact the client’s preference to delay extradition to the United States, where bail conditions may be more uncertain or stringent. On the other hand, a client may choose to waive extradition if confined under harsh conditions in the arresting state, and a bail package can be agreed to with US authorities and approved by the court.[42]
  • Costs and resources: Litigating extradition is expensive and resource intensive. Clients, especially those with limited resources, may wish to direct finite resources to fighting the underlying criminal case.

Clients must balance these considerations against the risk that authorities likely will view prior resistance to extradition as avoiding responsibility or purposefully delaying the criminal case. Both could negatively impact the disposition of the case, impede efforts to secure bail upon extradition and foreclose or limit favourable plea offers, co-operation opportunities or sentencing recommendations.[43]

If a client waives extradition, the procedure typically involves filing an affidavit of consent in the responding state acknowledging that the extradition requirements have been met.[44] Individual states may impose additional requirements to perfect waiver. Waiver may be denied under treaties that do not permit waiver.[45]

Regardless of which option a client chooses, it is critical to retain extradition counsel in the responding state. Extradition proceedings involve complex legal issues and have serious implications for a client’s liberty. Experienced counsel is necessary to identify potential defences, attend court appearances, and communicate with foreign counterparts.

41.3.4 Defences to extradition

Extradition defences are limited, as the responding state generally must grant extradition provided treaty requirements are met. Ultimately, the language of the treaty at issue and, sometimes, the laws of the responding jurisdiction,[46] determine which defences are available.[47] Common defences include:

  • Where the offence occurred: Historically, many treaties did not permit extradition for crimes for which the United States asserts extraterritorial jurisdiction.[48] Recently, the United Kingdom’s ‘forum bar’ has also been successfully invoked in multiple cases.[49] Most modern treaties now require extradition regardless of where the offence occurred or allow extradition provided that the signatory countries’ criminal laws are compatible.[50]
  • Nature of the offence: The next defence is whether the offences in question are extraditable under the language of the applicable treaty. For example, in dual criminality treaties, extradition is typically denied where the alleged offence is not a crime in the responding state.[51]
  • Procedural issues: Procedural defences may apply based on deficiencies in the extradition proceeding;[52] for example, insufficiencies in the United States’ filings, such as a lack of signature or failure to produce the warrant.[53] Counsel should also consider whether any statute of limitations or double jeopardy defences apply.[54]
  • Humanitarian considerations: Humanitarian defences may apply. Many states deny extradition where the requesting state may pursue the death penalty[55]or has inhumane prison conditions.[56] However, the US government is often successful in defeating humanitarian defences by making certain undertakings (for example, by agreeing that it will not seek the death penalty).[57]

41.3.5 Appealing extradition orders

There is no limit to how many times the United States may renew an extradition request,[58] even when based on the same facts as the earlier request and regardless of whether it was previously denied on the merits or procedural grounds.[59] Although extradition orders typically are not appealable,[60] counsel should consult with experienced counsel in the responding state, as local law may allow for appeal.[61]

Importantly, clients may always challenge an adverse extradition ruling by petitioning for a writ of habeas corpus in the United States.[62] A US court’s ruling on such a petition is appealable,[63] and the court may choose to stay the foreign extradition proceeding during the appeal.[64]

41.3.6 Recent developments

There has been significant extradition activity in the past few years. In 2019, new extradition treaties took effect, and the United States signed new extradition and mutual legal assistance agreements;[65] in August 2020, the US government suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong following international calls to halt extradition in response to China’s sweeping new national security law;[66] and in December 2020, the United States signed an extradition treaty with Albania to replace their 1933 treaty with a modern ‘dual criminality’ approach.’[67]

The US government also sought and successfully achieved a number of extraditions in recent years.[68] For example, in December 2021, two citizens of Panama and Italy were extradited from Guatemala in a massive bribery and money laundering scheme involving a Brazil-based global construction conglomerate.[69] US authorities also continue to seek extradition for FCPA offences,[70] consistent with the DOJ’s increasingly broad view of their mandate to enforce the FCPA.[71]

41.4 Strategic considerations

A number of strategic considerations must be considered while advising white-collar clients navigating criminal, civil or internal investigation or proceedings. While some of these considerations are common to all three contexts, others are particular to criminal actions or internal investigations.

41.4.1 Assessing the client’s status

In all three contexts – criminal, civil and internal – counsel must first assess a client’s status with respect to a current or potential criminal action. Individuals who come into the orbit of a US criminal investigation fall into one of three categories: witness, subject or target.[72] Counsel must assess the client’s status to advise on strategic options, which will vary depending on status. For this reason, it is common for counsel to seek clarification from the DOJ regarding a client’s status.

However, even if a client is a witness, the designation may change as the investigation progresses. It is therefore critical to independently and continuously assess the client’s exposure to advise on the relevant risks and strategic options.

41.4.2 Decision to co-operate Co-operating with or defending a criminal or civil proceeding

A client facing criminal or civil liability must choose whether to co-operate with authorities or fight the case.[73] Co-operation may be an attractive option to reduce the potential sentence or financial penalties, but these potential benefits are not without risks; the client must understand the duties that accompany co-operation, including admitting criminal conduct, providing information about his or her (and others’) involvement, and potentially testifying against others at trial. The client must also disclose any other potential misconduct, even if outside the scope of the investigation, and be fully transparent about his or her finances.

In determining whether to recommend co-operation, counsel should assess the quality of the client’s information, its likely usefulness to the government’s case, and the client’s capacity for candour and ability to endure probing proffer sessions or trial.

Co-operation typically begins with attorney proffers, during which counsel ‘previews’ the information that the client could provide.[74] The client will then typically meet with the government for multiple proffer sessions before entering into a formal co-operation agreement to resolve the charges.

Usually, client proffers should be conducted only after negotiating a proffer agreement, which provides limited protections from the government’s future use of any statements made. Additionally, before the proffer, counsel should advise the client that he or she cannot be forced to provide information to the government, discuss the consequences of voluntarily speaking with the authorities and ensure that the client understands the limited protections and potential pitfalls of any proffer agreement.[75]

Clients co-operate with the hope, but no guarantee, that the government will recommend a reduced sentence. Practically speaking, this is delivered in a ‘5K1.1 letter’ from the government recommending a lower sentence than would otherwise be imposed in exchange for co-operation (or ‘substantial assistance’).[76] Alternatively, clients may receive a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA), under which all charges are dropped after certain conditions are met.[77] A DPA is preferable to a 5K1.1 letter but harder to obtain.

Many clients choose to co-operate after they have been indicted. In these circumstances, clients must usually decide relatively quickly whether to co-operate, as timeliness of co-operation and acceptance of responsibility will impact the government’s plea offer, sentencing recommendation and, ultimately, the court’s sentence.[78] Clients may have the opportunity to co-operate pre-indictment, though this typically requires that counsel be involved and proactively engage with the government from the investigation’s outset. In these situations, clients may be able to resolve the proceedings through a non-prosecution agreement, in which authorities decline to bring any charges.[79]

Co-operation is not the right path for all clients. Several legal and personal factors may lead the client to fight the case. In those cases, counsel must carefully research and evaluate the client’s likelihood of criminal liability and potential defences, including limitation periods and jurisdiction. It is also important to understand the client’s personal, financial and family circumstances. Clients with a reasonable likelihood of successfully defending the case may nevertheless choose to co-operate because of the collateral consequences of a criminal trial. Co-operating with an internal investigation

In advising a client on co-operating with an internal investigation, counsel should first assess whether the client is a current employee with a duty to co-operate under relevant laws, employment agreements or company policies.[80] If a client is a former employee, he or she nonetheless may be required to co-operate under the terms of any deferred compensation or separation package.[81] Counsel should advise all clients to consider the ramifications of not co-operating on employment prospects and their relationship with the company.

Counsel must also assess whether co-operation will jeopardise Fifth Amendment protections. While private employees generally do not have a Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in internal investigations, the right applies where co-operation is compelled (e.g., threat of termination or economic consequence such as unpaid suspension), and the employer’s actions are ‘fairly attributable’ to the government.[82] For example, a US federal district court recently held that an employee’s statements were ‘compelled testimony’ protected by the Fifth Amendment in an internal investigation conducted by his employer at the direction of an enforcement agency.[83] Accordingly, while a client cannot assert the Fifth Amendment in a purely internal investigation, he or she can likely do so where the government has substantial input into the investigation or the government has effectively ‘outsourced’ its investigation to the employer or its counsel.[84]

Finally, counsel must consider the criminal, civil or regulatory consequences of co-operation, including the possibility that the company will share the substance of the client’s interview with criminal or civil enforcement authorities.[85] While the client’s communications during such interviews are typically privileged in the United States, the underlying facts are not. Further, the privilege belongs to the employer,[86] which the employer may waive through self-reporting or compelled disclosure.[87]

Similarly, counsel should consider the consequences of not co-operating, particularly in jurisdictions such as the United Kingdom, where persons approved by the Financial Conduct Authority have a positive obligation to co-operate, and failure to do so could jeopardise licensed status.[88]

41.4.3 Dealing with multiple authorities Voluntary interviews

An additional consideration for cross-border proceedings is that evidence collected in one jurisdiction can be used by authorities in another. This issue is increasingly important because the United States is more frequently coordinating white-collar investigations with foreign authorities, as well as engaging in parallel investigations into the same or related conduct regardless of whether there is express coordination.[89] Counsel must consider what impact investigations and corresponding procedures in other jurisdictions may have on US proceedings.

One key consideration is whether a client might waive Fifth Amendment rights by testifying in a foreign proceeding, opening the door for that testimony to be used against the client in a present or future criminal or civil proceeding in the United States.[90] At least one US court has alleviated this concern, holding that the Fifth Amendment’s prohibition on the use of compelled testimony extends to testimony compelled by a foreign authority, ‘even when the testimony was compelled . . . in full accordance with [foreign] law’.[91]

Counsel should also consider whether a client’s voluntary interview with a foreign authority would require discussion of subject matters otherwise protected by the attorney–client privilege and therefore waive privilege, permitting US authorities to use that information in their own proceedings. In these situations, it is advisable to consult with local counsel to confirm the client’s obligations and potential risks of refusing the interview request in the foreign jurisdiction. Evidence obtained pursuant to MLAT

If a client does not co-operate, US authorities may seek testimonial or documentary evidence via mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT) request.[92] The MLAT process can be slow, taking more than a year between the time a request is made and the time testimony is taken or documents produced.[93]

Although most MLATs permit the requesting authority to be present during questioning, the interviews are typically conducted by foreign law enforcement officials pursuant to local procedural rules. This means that certain protections available in the United States may not apply, such as the right to counsel or attorney–client privilege. Accordingly, local counsel is essential to navigating the interview process in the foreign jurisdiction.

41.4.4 Counsel selection

A client must decide whether to engage independent counsel or to pursue joint or pool counsel representation with an employer, colleagues or both.

Where the representation relates to a client’s current or former employment, many employers encourage retaining company counsel, particularly when the client is a current employee. For purely internal investigations, or where there is no indication of individual wrongdoing, an employee may not feel the need for counsel or may be happy working with company counsel.

While joint representation by company counsel is often the most expedient and economical choice for employers, company counsel is not always the right choice for the individual client and ultimately may be problematic for the company. The opportunity for conflicts to arise in a joint representation is substantial, particularly where the client may give testimony that contradicts the employer’s position or creating liability for the employer.[94]

For former employees, the risk of conflict is even more acute, as employee-employer interests are even less likely to be aligned. If clients elect not to co-operate with the company, they will have no choice but to appoint independent counsel, owing to the inherent conflict created.[95]

A client may alternatively choose to appoint pool counsel, wherein the client is represented along with several other clients by one counsel. Pool counsel is an efficient way to provide representation for multiple employees while saving time and resources. It is typically appropriate when the clients are fact witnesses with minimal or no personal exposure, or fall into the same category (e.g., former employees); the subject of the interviews is likely to be similar; or the investigation is expected to be finite. Pool counsel is not appropriate when clients may contradict or give testimony creating liability for one another.

Pool counsel must vigilantly monitor for conflicts and ensure that each client is aware of the duty owed to the others. To this end, clients should be counselled about the potential conflicts and privilege implications[96] of pool counsel, and engagement letters should require clients’ informed consent to the arrangement.[97]

Regardless of the type of counsel selected, clients should also consider whether to engage specialised counsel, such as employment counsel to advise on co-operation obligations under applicable labour law or employment agreements, or counsel specialising in the law of the foreign jurisdiction, for example in jurisdictions with stringent privacy laws or circumscribed attorney–client privilege protections.

41.4.5 Impact of company settlement

Counsel must consider the impact of a company’s settlement or plea agreement, which may name individual employees, reference employee conduct or admit facts implicating individual employees. The risk that a company names individual employees is particularly acute given the DOJ’s policy requiring companies to report misconduct by individual wrongdoers to receive co-operation credit.

Counsel should advise clients that a company’s settlement or plea agreement with enforcement authorities does not necessarily extinguish potential criminal liability for the client, nor does it eliminate the potential for claims in separate civil litigation, including those, for example, in a shareholder derivative suit.

41.5 Evidentiary issues

41.5.1 Privilege laws across jurisdictions

A key consideration in cross-border proceedings is whether legal communications will be protected from disclosure to regulators and other parties. While in the United States these communications ordinarily are protected by the attorney–client privilege and work-product doctrine, analogous protections are not always available in foreign jurisdictions.[98]

For example, privilege protections may diverge between jurisdictions with respect to communications with in-house counsel, which often occur during internal investigations. In the United States, the attorney–client privilege applies equally to communications with external and in-house counsel.[99] In many European countries, however, the equivalent privilege applies only to written communications between clients and external counsel.[100]

In certain circumstances, US counsel’s own communications with a foreign client may not be protected under US law. To determine whether such communications are privileged, US courts apply the ‘touch base analysis’, deferring to the privilege laws of the country with the ‘predominant’ or ‘most direct and compelling interest’.[101]

It is therefore prudent to consult with local counsel in relevant jurisdictions because foreign privilege rules have a meaningful impact on the scope of materials and information available to investigating authorities and counsel.

41.5.2 Foreign restrictions on information transfer

Data protection laws, which vary by jurisdiction, could affect the ability of US counsel to access materials on behalf their clients in cross-border representations. For example, the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into force in 2018, effected significant changes in data privacy.[102]

In July 2020, a ruling from the European Court of Justice invalidated a widely used EU–US data transfer agreement: the 2016 Privacy Shield agreement. In 2022, the United States and the European Commission entered into a new Trans-Atlantic Data Privacy Framework to re-establish the legal mechanism for transfers of EU personal data to the United States.[103]

The practical effect of such restrictions is that counsel may not be able to transfer data to the United States and will need to review relevant material in a foreign jurisdiction.[104] Similarly, there may be restrictions on the materials or information a client can disclose to US authorities in interviews or productions. Accordingly, local counsel should be consulted to navigate the evolving laws that could expose clients (and counsel) to sanctions for failing to comply with these regimes.[105]

41.5.3 Evidentiary considerations in internal investigations

In internal investigations, clients may be asked to provide various types of records to company counsel. Clients typically must comply if the materials were created or maintained in the course of employment, as they are considered the employer’s property.[106] Failure to comply risks disciplinary action, termination or being reported to authorities as unco-operative or obstructionist.[107] Clients should be counselled to preserve all potentially relevant materials and carefully abide by any legal holds to avoid even the appearance of potential spoliation.[108]

Notwithstanding the above, former employees may be able to assert the Fifth Amendment in refusing to produce incriminating documents to US authorities.[109] Current employees generally do not have this right.[110] Before turning over any documents to company counsel that may be shared with authorities, counsel should seek advice from local counsel regarding the client’s (and counsel’s) exposure for doing so under applicable data privacy or other local laws.

Finally, in most internal investigations, individual counsel is dependent on company counsel to obtain relevant materials. To this end, a cordial and co-operative relationship with company counsel is critical to facilitate information sharing.

41.6 Asset freezing, seizure and forfeiture

Counsel should advise clients regarding the potential for asset freezing, seizure or forfeiture. In criminal proceedings, the DOJ may obtain a pre-indictment or pretrial restraining order to freeze assets,[111] and pursue criminal or civil forfeiture of tainted assets (i.e., any property derived from the criminal conduct) or substitute assets up to an equivalent value.[112] Criminal forfeiture charges must be included in the indictment or criminal information.[113] A criminal forfeiture order typically cannot be obtained unless the client is criminally convicted of a forfeiture offence.[114]

In civil proceedings, the DOJ must file an in rem action, namely one against the property derived from or used to perpetrate the offence,[115] and usually seizes the property before the court’s entry of a civil forfeiture order.[116]

If the assets subject to forfeiture are unavailable as a result of the client’s act or omission, US authorities can satisfy the forfeiture order through substitute assets.[117] Counsel should discuss with clients the impact this may have on joint assets such as a home or other property shared with a spouse.[118]

US authorities have increasingly sought to freeze and seize assets in white-collar cases involving securities fraud, bribery, money laundering and insider trading, even when the assets in question are located outside the United States.[119] The years 2021 and 2022 were no exceptions to that trend.[120]

41.7 Collateral consequences

Counsel must be attuned to numerous collateral consequences of a cross-border proceeding, including:

  • parallel actions by other authorities (domestic or foreign);
  • follow-on civil litigation by shareholders or victims;
  • revocation or suspension of regulatory or professional licences or registrations;
  • difficulty obtaining requisite background or ‘know your customer’ clearance for employment or personal finances;
  • reputational harm; and
  • immigration or travel consequences, particularly if the offence is deportable or where extradition has been defeated.

41.8 The human element: client-centred lawyering

Individual representations raise unique issues concerning client-centred lawyering beyond those arising from corporate representation. Criminal actions are particularly traumatic for both clients and their families, who are often interacting with the criminal justice system for the first time in their lives. To the extent possible, counsel should allow the client sufficient time to process the situation before making irreversible decisions.

Counsel must also be attuned to the impact of the proceeding on the client’s physical and mental health. Preliminary discussions should cover these issues, as well as the client’s support system. Engaging with the client’s support system is essential at all stages, including fact-gathering, assessing strategic options, deploying financial resources and determining resolution. For clients facing criminal proceedings, family support impacts all aspects of the case, from bail conditions to the sentence imposed.

Finally, counsel must be sensitive to the impact of the proceeding on the client’s professional and personal reputation. Even if no enforcement action is taken, mere association with a proceeding – particularly if criminal – may so negatively impact the client’s reputation that he or she is unable to work in the industry again or live in the same community.[121] Counsel should be prepared to advise clients on how to mitigate reputational risks and expect that these considerations will impact clients’ decisions.


[1] Amanda Raad and Michael McGovern are partners, and Meghan Gilligan Palermo, Abraham Lee, Chloe Gordils and Ross MacPherson are associates, at Ropes & Gray LLP.

[2] Beginning with the Yates Memorandum, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) prioritised prosecutions of individuals involved in corporate wrongdoing. To effectuate this policy, the Yates Memorandum mandated that for a company to receive any co-operation credit, it must provide the DOJ with ‘all relevant facts about the individuals involved in corporate misconduct’ in both criminal and civil cases, regardless of the level of its involvement in the alleged misconduct. See Memorandum from Sally Quillian Yates, Dep. Att’y Gen., DOJ, Individual Accountability for Corporate Wrongdoing (9 September 2015),

[3] Memorandum from Lisa Monaco, Dep. Att’y Gen., DOJ, Further Revisions to Corporate Criminal Enforcement Policies Following Discussions with Corporate Crime Advisory Group (15 September 2022), (the Monaco Memorandum). The memorandum not only emphasises the timely disclosures and prioritisation of individual investigations, but also underscores the DOJ’s commitment to ‘[c]ooperat[ing] with foreign law enforcement partners-both in terms of evidence-sharing and capacity-building . . . [to supplement the DOJ’s] efforts to fight corporate crime’. Monaco Memorandum, at 4. The Monaco Memorandum’s additional emphasis on incentivising voluntary corporate self-disclosure may serve to further underscore individual accountability. Monaco Memorandum at 6–7. See also Memorandum from Lisa Monaco, Dep. Att’y Gen., DOJ, Corporate Crime Advisory Group and Initial Revisions to Corporate Criminal Enforcement Policies (28 October 2021), (restating principles from the 2015 Yates Memorandum).

[4] Compare DOJ, Criminal Division Fraud Section Year in Review 2021,, with DOJ, Criminal Division Fraud Section Year in Review 2020,

[5] For example, in a headline case in 2020, the DOJ charged 28 North Korean bankers for helping launder more than US$2.5 billion out of the sanctioned country to pay for Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and missile programme. The indictment charges the individuals with international money laundering, bank fraud and violations of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and alleges an intricate scheme that involved creating secret branches of a state-owned bank in countries such as China, Russia, Libya and Thailand. See U.S. v. Man, et al., Indictment, No. 1:20-CR-00032 (5 February 2020), -korea-indictment/422a99ddac0c39459226/optimized/full.pdf#page=1.

[6] See U.S. v. Grubisich, Indictment No. 19-CR-102 (27 February 2019),; see also DOJ, press release, ‘Former Chief Executive Officer of Publicly Traded Petrochemical Company Pleads Guilty to Foreign Bribery and Securities Law Violations’ (15 April 2021), -officer-publicly-traded-petrochemical-company-pleads-guilty-foreign.

[7] See DOJ, Justice Manual § 9-15.635 (2018), -international-extradition-and-related-matters (Justice Manual); see also DOJ, Justice Manual: Criminal Resource Manual § 611 (2020), -601-699 (Criminal Resource Manual).

[8] For this reason, counsel engaged during the investigatory phase of a cross-border DOJ investigation should carefully consider the client’s exposure to prosecution and risk of arrest while overseas. The client should be advised to carry counsel’s contact details at all times. In some cases, and taking into consideration the client’s home country, counsel may advise the client to refrain from international travel while the DOJ’s investigation is pending.

[9] Under the Bail Reform Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3142(b) and (c)(1)(B), US courts must order a defendant’s pretrial release unless the court ‘determines that such release will not reasonably assure the appearance of the person as required or will endanger the safety of any other person or the community’. Where a defendant is released, the court must do so ‘subject to the least restrictive further condition, or combination of conditions, that . . . will reasonably assure the appearance of the person’. On the other hand, a court must order detention if it ‘finds that no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure the appearance of the person as required and the safety of any other person and the community’. Id. § 3142(e).

[10] A ‘flight risk’ refers to a risk of fleeing the jurisdiction to avoid criminal prosecution.

[11] See, e.g., United States v. Zarrab, No. 15-CR-867, 2016 WL 3681423, at *7 (S.D.N.Y. 16 July 2016); United States v. Maxwell, 510 F. Supp. 3d 165, 172 (S.D.N.Y. 2020).

[12] Nevertheless, since the onset of the covid-19 pandemic, US courts have appeared more willing to grant bail to foreign defendants where the defendant is able to show pre-existing health conditions that place him or her at heightened risk of dangerous health-related complications. See, e.g., Matter of Rory McGrath, No. 21 MJ 5058 (PED), 2021 WL 5983127, at *6 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 15, 2021) (affirming bail for a 62-year-old US citizen with significant health problems that pose an enhanced risk of complications if he is infected with the covid-19 virus); In re Manrique, No. 3:19-mj-71055’MAG (N.D. Cal. 19 March 2020) (granting bail to the 74-year-old former president of Peru, arrested on an extradition warrant issued by Peru for bribery in connection with the Odebrecht scandal, pending resolution of the extradition case owing to his increased vulnerability to covid-19 as a result of age and other factors).

[13] These conditions may include, e.g., home confinement, foreign and domestic travel restrictions, confiscation of travel documents and electronic monitoring. The defendant may also be required to execute a waiver of extradition as a condition of release.

[14] Physical evidence can refer to emails, hard drives, texts and instant messages, financial records and documentary evidence, among other things.

[15] Communications with such parties should be through counsel and only pursuant to common interest privilege.

[16] Id.

[17] Initial discussions with the client should include a detailed and candid conversation about the client’s financial resources, goals for how those resources are deployed and the availability, if any, of insurance coverage, as criminal lawsuits have grown increasingly expensive. Counsel should ensure that the client has a complete understanding of the resources necessary to defend the case, particularly if the client fights the charges, and all the more so if the client is self-funding the representation. Where a client could be covered under a directors’ and officers’ policy or similar liability insurance, counsel may advise the client to retain specialised insurance counsel to assist in obtaining and understanding potential limitations on coverage, such as policy provisions allowing the insurer to claw back legal fees if the client is convicted.

[18] At the outset of all cases, it is important to consider the need for specialised or local, or both, counsel regarding, among other things, employment, extradition, regulatory or privacy laws.

[19] DOJ, Office of the Inspector General Evaluation and Inspections Division, Review of the Office of International Affairs’ Role in the International Extradition of Fugitives (March 2002) (‘Each year since 1990, [the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs] has opened between 670 to 950 cases for the extradition of fugitives based on requests from U.S. prosecutors and foreign governments.’).

[20] E.g., WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s extradition proceedings related to US conspiracy and espionage charges were postponed in March 2020 because of a covid-19 lockdown in the United Kingdom and resumed in September 2020 via videoconference. See Megan Specia, ‘At Assange’s Extradition Hearing, Troubled Tech Takes Center Stage’, The New York Times (16 September 2020), -hearing.html. Although the district judge denied Assange’s extradition in light of mental health concerns in January 2021, the ruling was overturned on appeal. See Michael Holden, ‘WikiLeaks’ founder Assange vows to fight extradition from UK to United States’, Reuters (17 June 2022), -founder|-julian-assange-2022-06-17. Following then UK Home Secretary Priti Patel’s approval of Assange’s extradition, Assange has filed a final appeal to the High Court in London to block the extradition. See Michael Holden and Kanishka Singh, ‘WikiLeaks’ Assange lodges appeal against U.S. extradition’, Reuters (2 July 2022),

[21] Ronald J Hedges, Federal Judicial Center International Litigation Guide: International Extradition: A Guide for Judges 1, 4 (2014),

[22] For instance, the treaty between Albania and the United States includes an inventory of more than two dozen crimes. Extradition Treaty, Alb.-U.S., art. 2 (1 March 1933), 49 Stat. 3313. In comparison, the treaty between Haiti and the United States includes an inventory of a dozen crimes. Extradition Treaty, Haiti-U.S., art. 2 (9 August 1904), 34 Stat. 2858.

[23] Criminal Resource Manual, supra note 7, § 603.

[24] See, e.g., Extradition Treaty, U.K.-U.S., art. 4(1)–(2) (31 Mar. 2003), T.I.A.S. 07-426 (UK Extradition Treaty). Other common provisions include prohibitions on double jeopardy, limitation periods and restrictions on the extradition of nationals. Historically, the most common extradition treaty provision provided that signatory countries were not required to extradite their own citizens. See M Cherif Bassiouni, International Extradition: United States Law and Practice, 746 (6th ed. 2014). This practice has evolved, however, and many modern treaties contain provisions either (1) prohibiting signatory countries from denying extradition on the basis of nationality, see, e.g., UK Extradition Treaty, supra note 24, art. 3; Extradition Treaty, Peru–U.S., art. 3, 26 July 2001, T.I.A.S. 03-825; Extradition Treaty, Belize–U.S., art. 3, 30 March 2000, T.I.A.S. 13089; Extradition Treaty, Para.–U.S., art. 3, 9 November 1998, T.I.A.S. 12995; or (2) providing that denial on the basis of nationality is permissible only if the case is referred to local authorities for prosecution, see, e.g., Extradition Treaty, S. Kor.–U.S., art. 3, 9 June 1998, T.I.A.S. 12962; Extradition Treaty, Pol.–U.S., art. 4, 10 July 1996, T.I.A.S. 99-917. Certain countries, however, continue to prohibit extradition of their nationals but retain the discretion to do so. See, e.g., Extradition Treaty, Fr.–U.S., art. 3(1), 23 April 1996, T.I.A.S. 02-201 (France Extradition Treaty); Extradition Treaty, Ger.–U.S., art. 7(1), 20 June 1978, 32 U.S.T. 1485.

[25] See U.S. Dep’t of State, Treaties in Force: A List of Treaties and Other International Agreements of the United States in Force on January 1, 2020, (Treaties in Force 2020); U.S. Dep’t of State, Treaties in Force: Supplemental List of Treaties and Other International Agreements (2022), (Treaties in Force 2022 Supplement).

[26] See Inter-American Convention on Extradition, 26 December 1933, 49 Stat. 3111,, European Union–U.S., 25 June 2003, S. Treaty Doc. No. 109-14, In addition, the United States is party to several multilateral international conventions that further reinforce bilateral extradition treaties by binding Member States to either extradite or prosecute individuals charged with particular offences. See, e.g., United Nations Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft, art. 8, 16 December 1970, 860 U.N.T.S. 105; United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, art. 6 (20 December 1988), 1582 U.N.T.S. 95.

[27] Justice Manual, supra note 7, § 9-15.210.

[28] Id. § 9-15.300.

[29] Specifically, the presiding judge in the foreign jurisdiction will confirm the individual’s identity, that the United States has pleaded an extraditable offence supported by allegations sufficient to find probable cause that the individual committed the alleged offense, and that the extradition request satisfies all other treaty provisions. See Hedges, supra note 21, at 10–11. The individual is then provided an opportunity to challenge the validity of the extradition request on various factual and procedural grounds. The Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, Civil Procedure and Evidence do not apply in extradition proceedings. See Fed. R. Crim. P. 1(a)(5); Fed. R. Evid. 1101(d)(3); In re Requested Extradition of Kirby, 106 F.3d 855, 867 (9th Cir. 1996) (Noonan J, dissenting). Accordingly, hearsay evidence and unsworn statements may be admissible. See, e.g., Collins v. Loisel (Collins II), 259 U.S. 309, 317 (1922); Artukovic v. Rison, 784 F.2d 1354, 1356 (9th Cir. 1986); Haxhiaj v. Hackman, 528 F.3d 282, 292 (4th Cir. 2008); Zanazanian v. United States, 729 F.2d 624, 626 (9th Cir. 1984).

[30] All modern US extradition treaties include articles providing for provisional arrest. S. Exec. Rep. No. 106-26, at 31 (2000) (report from US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations); see, e.g., Extradition Treaty, Canada–U.S., art. 11(1), 3 December 1971, 27 U.S.T. 983 (Canada Extradition Treaty).

[31] Criminal Resource Manual, supra note 7, § 615.

[32] Typically, once a provisional arrest is made, prosecutors have between one and three months to submit a formal extradition request. See Justice Manual, supra note 7, §§ 9-15.210, 9-15.230; see, e.g., Canada Extradition Treaty, supra note 30, at art. 11(1) (requiring release ‘upon the expiration of forty-five days from the date of his arrest’ if an extradition request is not received within that time).

[33] If a client is taken into custody under a provisional arrest warrant, counsel will likely need to advise the client regarding bail, which may be sought in the responding jurisdiction while extradition is pending. Clients may need to mobilise significant resources and assemble bond guarantors to effectuate bail as quickly as possible. For this reason, too, it is essential that experienced extradition counsel in the relevant jurisdiction be engaged to navigate bail issues in the responding state.

[34] Justice Manual, supra note 7, § 9-15.400.

[35] Jonathan Masters, ‘What is Extradition?’, Counsel on Foreign Relations (last updated 8 January 2020),

[36] For example, while Westminster Magistrates’ Court (where all extradition proceedings in England and Wales are conducted) remained open for priority matters during much of the covid-19 pandemic, with many requested persons appearing over video link, in some cases extradition hearings were adjourned for up to five months. See Joshua Kern and Lucia Brieskova, ‘Prison Conditions and Extradition Proceedings In The Time Of Coronavirus’, Crimeline (last updated 15 June 2020),

[37] For example, under the UK Coronavirus Act 2020, courts had discretion to proceed with extradition hearings by video or audio links, subject to certain safeguards, if it is in the interests of justice to do so. See Coronavirus Act 2020, c.7 §§ 53–57.

[38] United States v. Blanco, 861 F.2d 773, 780 (2d Cir. 1988), cert. denied, 489 U.S. 1019 (1989); United States v. Pomeroy, 822 F.2d 718, 720 nn. 3–4 (8th Cir. 1987); United States v. Walton, 814 F.2d 376, 380 (7th Cir. 1987); see also Criminal Resource Manual, supra note 7, § 601–99. Extradition proceedings in the foreign jurisdiction may be susceptible to political considerations, which may influence the timeline for extradition and even whether it occurs at all. For example, the United States’ request to extradite Julian Assange from the United Kingdom was initially denied because of mental health concerns arising from prison conditions in the United States. See Richard Crump, ‘WikiLeaks’ Assange Avoids US Extradition On Suicide Fears’, Law360 (4 January 2021), The decision prompted the US government to assure the High Court of England and Wales that Assange would be treated humanely if extradited, and the High Court then overturned the lower court’s decision. See Associated Press, ‘Julian Assange is one major step closer to extradition to the U.S.’, NPR (20 April 2022), Assange’s other grounds for opposing extradition were then rejected by the lower court, and he has since again appealed the case to the High Court of London. Id.

[39] This approach, however, requires careful consideration of the consequences of defeating extradition, including the possibility that the United States may issue a superseding indictment, bring new charges or initiate another extradition proceeding, despite an unsuccessful first attempt. Also, the client will likely be effectively prohibited from travelling to countries with which the United States has an extradition agreement because the United States could initiate extradition proceedings in that jurisdiction.

[40] A subject of an extradition request is not legally entitled to discovery from the US government regarding the underlying criminal charges until he or she appears in a US court. While the court presiding over the extradition proceeding may grant discovery pursuant to its ‘inherent power’, any discovery obtained (if at all) will be limited in scope and nature. See Quinn v. Robinson, 783 F.2d 776, 817 n.41 (9th Cir. 1986), cert. denied, 479 U.S. 882 (1986); see also Oen Yin-Choy v. Robinson, 858 F.2d 1400, 1407 (9th Cir. 1988). In most cases, clients will not receive any discovery until extradited, which frustrates efforts to assess the strength of the government’s evidence. Counsel will likely be limited to information possessed by the client, information gleaned from co-defendants (under a joint defence agreement) and evidence voluntarily provided by the US government, which is likely to be scant (or non-existent) if the client is resisting extradition.

[41] The rule of specialty provides that defendants may be tried by the requesting state only for the specific offences for which extradition is granted. See United States v. Lopesierra-Gutierrez, 708 F.3d 193, 205–06 (D.C. Cir. 2013); United States v. Lomeli, 596 F.3d 496, 501 (8th Cir. 2010). US courts are divided on whether an individual defendant has standing to raise a rule of specialty challenge. Some circuits recognise a defendant’s right to raise a rule of specialty challenge – see, e.g., United States v. Stokes, 726 F.3d 880, 889 (7th Cir. 2013), cert. denied, 571 U.S. 1084 (2013) (collecting cases) – while others permit such challenges only if the sending nation has officially protested the deviation – see, e.g., United States v. Suarez, 791 F.3d 363, 366–67 (2d Cir. 2015); United States ex rel. Saroop v. Garcia, 109 F.3d 165, 168 (3d Cir. 1997). The remaining circuits take the middle ground, allowing the defendant to raise a rule of specialty claim if the sending nation consents to the deviation, while still others are agnostic – see Stokes, 726 F.3d at 889 (collecting cases). See infra note 47.

[42] For example, a review by HM Inspectorate of Prisons of HMP Wandsworth, which generally houses requested persons who are remanded in the United Kingdom pending extradition proceedings, found several shortcomings in the prison’s management of conditions during the covid-19 pandemic. Potentially dangerous conditions included a lack of space to allow social distancing, infrequent opportunities for showers and insufficient communication with non-English speakers concerning pandemic arrangements. See HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, Report on short scrutiny visits to Local prisons (28 April 2020),

[43] This risk is particularly acute for clients who are likely to become co-operating witnesses or plead guilty, as US authorities typically view resisting extradition as non-co-operation. US authorities often require waiver of extradition as a precondition to co-operation before they will consider designating the client as a potential co-operating witness.

[44] Hedges, supra note 21, at 8–10.

[45] See Bruce Zagaris, U.S. Efforts to Extradite Persons for Tax Offenses, 25 Loy. L.A. Int’l & Comp. L. Rev. 653, 676 (2003) (US extradition treaties that entered into force prior to 1980 do not provide for waiver of extradition); see, e.g., Extradition Treaty, Austl.–U.S., 8 May 1976, 27 U.S.T. 957; France Extradition Treaty, supra note 24, art. 3(1).

[46] For instance, in the United Kingdom, local law provides several specified grounds for defending against extradition. See Extradition Act 2003, c. 41, §§ 13, 81, 87.

[47] Trial defences that may be available to a client upon arriving in the United States typically are not available at the extradition stage. For example, the foreign judge presiding over the extradition proceeding may refuse to admit evidence supporting an insanity or alibi defence, which may be raised as defences to the underlying substantive offences in the US criminal proceeding. See, e.g., Charlton v. Kelly, 229 U.S. 447, 462 (1913) (holding that the extradition magistrate properly excluded evidence of insanity at the hearing stage). These defences likely are available only when the client arrives in the United States. Similarly, once a client has been extradited to the United States, he or she may assert the rule of specialty.

[48] Criminal Resource Manual, supra note 7, § 603.

[49] The forum bar, included in the UK Extradition Act 2003, enables courts from preventing extraditions where a substantial measure of the alleged criminal activity occurred in the United Kingdom, and where it would be in the interests of justice for the extradition to be prevented. See Extradition Act 2003, Section 83A(2).

[50] See, e.g., Extradition Treaty, Jordan–U.S., art. 2(4), 28 March 1995, S. Treaty Doc. No. 104-3; Extradition Treaty, Austria–U.S., art. 2(6), 8 January 1998, T.I.A.S. 12916; Extradition Treaty, Lux.–U.S., art. 2(1), 1 October 1996, T.I.A.S. 12804; Extradition Treaty, Hung.–U.S., art. 2(4), 1 December 1994, T.I.A.S. 97-318; Extradition Treaty, Bah.–U.S., art. 2(4), 9 March 1990, T.I.A.S. 94-922; France Extradition Treaty, supra note 24, art. 2(4).

[51] See, e.g., UK Extradition Treaty, supra note 24, art. 2(1). This defence may be particularly relevant in the context of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), as many countries do not outlaw certain forms of payment to government officials that are prohibited as bribery under the FCPA. For example, in 2005, the US authorities indicted a Czech national residing in the Bahamas for participating in a scheme to bribe foreign government officials. Despite the existence of a US–Bahamian extradition treaty, the Bahamian courts ruled that the defendant could not be extradited because the charges against him were for acts that, if committed in the Bahamas, would not constitute a crime. See Superintendent of Her Majesty’s Foxhill Prison & U.S. v. Kozeny, Privy Council Appeal No. 0073, § 53 (Judicial Comm. of the Privy Council 28 March 2012) (BAH.).

[52] Justice Manual, supra note 7, §§ 9-15.240, 9-15.250.

[53] id. § 9-15.240.

[54] These defences typically can be raised only where the applicable treaty specifically provides for such defences. See In re Extradition of Chan Seong-I, 346 F. Supp. 2d 1149, 1157 (D.N.M. 2004); United States v. Galanis, 429 F. Supp. 1215, 1225 n.9 (D. Conn. 1977); Michael John Garcia and Charles Doyle, Cong. Research Serv., 98-958, Extradition to and from the United States: Overview of the Law and Recent Treaties 15–16 (2010), (citing extradition treaties that include provisions addressing lapse of time); UK Extradition Treaty, supra note 24, arts. 2, 5, 6; In re Ryan, 360 F. Supp. 270, 274-75 (E.D.N.Y. 1973), aff’d, 478 F.2d 1397 (2d Cir. 1973).

[55] See, e.g., UK Extradition Treaty, supra note 24, art. 7.

[56] See e.g., Kaya Burgess and Jonathan Ames, ‘Dutch court refuses extradition to UK’s “inhumane” prisons’, The Times (11 May 2019), -refuses-extradition-to-uk-s-inhumane-prisons-w9dvjkqpm.

[57] In 2001, for example, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that it would not extradite two individuals who allegedly confessed to a triple murder unless the Canadian government received assurances that the individuals would not be subject to the death penalty in the United States. Canada is entitled to seek such assurances under its extradition treaty. Extradition Treaty, Canada–U.S., art. 6, March 22, 1976, 27 U.S.T. 983.

[58] See Collins v. Loisel, 262 U.S. 426, 429 (1923) (holding that double jeopardy does not apply to extradition decisions).

[59] Renewed requests are generally heard by a different judicial officer and reviewed de novo. See Skaftouros v. United States, 667 F.3d 144, 157 (2d Cir. 2011); Ahmad v. Wigen, 910 F.2d 1063, 1065 (2d Cir. 1990); In re Extradition of Mackin, 668 F.2d 122, 137 n.20 (2d Cir. 1981); Hooker v. Klein, 573 F.2d 1360, 1369 (9th Cir. 1978). Subsequent extradition requests may be based exclusively on evidence submitted in the initial request or supplemental evidence. See, e.g., Hooker, 573 F.2d at 1366 (the government’s renewal of its extradition request was valid despite the first request being ‘denied following an extensive evidentiary hearing and full consideration of the merits of the case by an extradition court’); accord Mirchandani v. United States, 836 F.2d 1223, 1226 (9th Cir. 1988); In re Extradition of Tafoya, 572 F. Supp. 95, 97 (W.D. Tex. 1983); cf. Ahmad v. Wigen, 726 F. Supp. 389, 397 (S.D.N.Y. 1989), aff’d, 910 F.2d 1063 (2d Cir. 1990); see also Ntakirutimana v. Reno, 184 F.3d 419, 423 (5th Cir. 1999), cert. denied, 528 U.S. 1135 (2000); Mackin, 668 F.2d at 137 n.20.

[60] Collins v. Miller, 252 U.S. 364, 369 (1920) (‘proceeding before a committing magistrate in international extradition is not subject to correction by appeal’); In re Mackin, 668 F.2d 122, 127–28 (2d Cir. 1981) (citing over a dozen cases holding the same).

[61] In the United Kingdom, for example, extradition decisions are appealable by the individual and the requesting state. GOV.UK, Extradition: processes and review,

[62] See 28 U.S.C. § 2241; see, e.g., Ahmad, 910 F.2d at 1065. Habeas review is narrower in scope than traditional appellate review and essentially limited to three enquiries: (1) the adequacy of the trial judge’s jurisdiction; (2) whether the offence is covered by the relevant treaty; and (3) whether there was sufficient evidence to support probable cause. John T Parry, ‘The Lost History of International Extradition Litigation’, 43 Va. J. Int’l L. 93, 97 (2002).

[63] Criminal Resource Manual, supra note 7, § 622.

[64] The writ of habeas corpus may be filed before an individual is extradited to the United States. However, DOJ guidance indicates that ‘[t]he filing of the [habeas] petition does not automatically stay further proceedings, and in certain cases the government may go forward with the extradition if the proceedings are not stayed by the order of the [US federal] court.’ Criminal Resource Manual, supra note 7, § 622.

[65] For example, treaties between the United States and Serbia and Kosovo. U.S. Dep’t of State, 2019 Treaties and Agreements, See also, DOJ, press release, ‘United States and Croatia Sign Bilateral Agreements Enhancing Law Enforcement Cooperation’, -enhancing-law-enforcement-cooperation.

[66] See BBC, Hong Kong: ‘US suspends extradition treaty over national security law’, BBC (20 August 2020), Susan Zheng, ‘International call to halt extradition treaties with Hong Kong after China imposes tough national security law’, SCMP (6 July 2020), 3091960/international-call-halt-extradition-treaties-hong-kong-after.

[67] See White House, press release, ‘A Message to the Senate transmitting the Extradition Treaty between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Republic of Albania’ (7 April 2022), -government-of-the-united-states-of-america-and-the-government-of-the-republic-of-albania.

[68] Among others, the United States successfully extradited an individual from Serbia in February 2021 in connection with an alleged US$70 million fraud targeting investors in binary options and cryptocurrency mining. See DOJ, press release, ‘Serbian Man Extradited to U.S., Charged with $70 Million Fraud in North Texas’ (5 February 2021), In April 2021, the United States successfully extradited a Nigerian citizen and resident of Canada from Germany to face charges for his alleged involvement in a ‘spoofing’ service used to steal millions of dollars from individuals’ and corporations’ bank accounts. See DOJ, press release, ‘U.S. Attorney Announces Extradition Of Canadian Citizen For His Role In An International Fraud And Money Laundering Network’ (9 April 2021), Finally, in November and December 2021, the United States extradited two dual citizens of Panama and Italy, who were sentenced to 36 months in prison for laundering US$28 million in a scheme involving a Brazil-based global construction conglomerate. See DOJ, press release, ‘Panama Intermediaries Each Sentenced to 36 Months in Prison for International Bribery and Money Laundering Scheme’ (20 May 2022), -each-sentenced-36-months-prison-international-bribery-and-money. See Crump, supra note 38 (in perhaps the highest-profile case of 2019, UK authorities provisionally arrested WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to face extradition to the United States, and now that the extradition has been approved, an appeal is ongoing).

[69] See DOJ, press release, ‘Panamanian Intermediary Extradited to the United States Pleads Guilty to International Bribery and Money Laundering Scheme,’

[70] For example, in May 2019, a Malaysian national previously arrested in Malaysia waived extradition and made his first appearance in US federal court for embezzling billions of dollars from 1MDB, Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund. See DOJ, press release, ‘Former Banker Extradited from Malaysia to United States to Face Charges in Multi-Billion Dollar Money Laundering and Bribery Scheme Relating to the 1MDB Fund’ (6 May 2019), opa/pr/former-banker-extradited-malaysia-united-states-face-charges-multi-billion-dollar -money. Notably, Malaysian authorities have described the defendant’s extradition to the United States as a ‘temporary surrender’ so that they may later pursue charges for similar conduct brought against him in Malaysia. See Matthew Goldstein, ‘Former Goldman Sachs Banker Pleads Not Guilty in Malaysia Fraud Case’, The New York Times (6 May 2019) at B3, In April 2022, a jury in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York found the defendant guilty. Associated Press, ‘A Former Goldman Sachs Banker is Found Guilty in a Plot to Loot Malaysia’s 1MDB Fund’, NPR (8 April 2022), The defendant is awaiting sentencing as at the time of writing. He is facing up to 30 years in prison.

[71] See generally DOJ and US Sec. Exch. Comm’n, A Resource Guide to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Second Edition (Jul. 2020); see also ‘Should FCPA “Territorial” Jurisdiction Reach Extraterritorial Proportions?’, Am. Bar Ass’n, (8 November 2018).

[72] Under federal law, a ‘witness’ is someone who authorities believe has information about facts relevant to a criminal investigation and who assists prosecutors in obtaining indictments against other individual or companies. A ‘subject’, by contrast, is ‘a person whose conduct is within the scope of the grand jury’s investigation’, i.e., someone who engaged in activity or conduct at issue in the prosecutor’s investigation, but who the prosecutor has not yet determined participated in criminal activity. A ‘target’ is ‘a person as to whom the prosecutor or the grand jury has substantial evidence linking him to the commission of a crime and who, in the judgment of the prosecutor, is a putative defendant’. Justice Manual, supra note 7, § 9-11.151.

[73] The government often relies on co-operating witnesses in white-collar cases during the investigatory phase and at trial. See, e.g., Kastigar v. United States, 406 U.S. 441, 446 (1972), reh’g denied, 406 U.S. 441 (1972) (‘[M]any offenses are of such a character that the only persons capable of giving useful testimony are those implicated in the crime.’). Individual co-operators tend to be lower-level employees or those who are less culpable in the criminal conduct, although the government may rely on more culpable individuals in complex criminal cases to co-operate against the primary target of an investigation.

[74] During the attorney proffer, counsel should explain how the client was involved in the conduct under investigation and outline the information the client will be able to provide. The attorney proffer is a critical opportunity to assess how the government will react to the client’s testimony, identify potential risk areas and learn about the government’s evidence and theory of the case.

[75] The proffer agreement typically includes a provision that the government will not use statements made during the interview directly against the client. See United States v. Rosemond, 841 F.3d 95, 109–10 (2d Cir. 2016). However, the government may use the statements for other purposes, such as obtaining other evidence or impeaching the client’s testimony.

[76] Section 5K1.1 of the US Sentencing Guidelines enables the government to move to allow the court to sentence a defendant below the applicable Sentencing Guidelines range. See Federal Sentencing Guidelines Manual § 5K1.1. In such motions, the government will typically set forth the nature, usefulness and significance of the client’s assistance during the proffer process. To receive credit for substantial assistance, the client will at a minimum need to be fully transparent about his or her own illicit conduct and to provide information about other people involved in the criminal activity. The client may also be required to produce documents, participate in investigatory operations (e.g., wearing a wire to record conversations with other defendants or targets) or testify before a grand jury or at trial. Importantly, a 5K1.1 letter is no guarantee of a favourable or reduced sentence, as the court retains discretion to impose a sentence up to the statutory maximum. See Federal Sentencing Guidelines Manual § 5K1.1 (2018) (explaining that a court ‘may depart from the guidelines’ in the case of a defendant’s substantial assistance to authorities) (emphasis added).

[77] Such conditions typically include a fine, term of supervision by pretrial services or community service. Deferred prosecution agreements are typically available only after the client has provided substantial co-operation, including potentially acting as an informant. See, e.g., Enforcement of the FCPA – Criminal Procedures – Deferred Prosecution Agreements, 13 Bus. & Com. Litig. Fed. Cts. § 134:34 (4th ed.).

[78] See Federal Sentencing Guidelines Manual § 5K1.1(5).

[79] To obtain a non-prosecution agreement (NPA), the client usually must pay a fine and co-operate with the government. In exchange, the relevant agency will refrain from filing criminal or civil charges. In deciding whether to enter into an NPA, DOJ policy provides that prosecutors should balance the cost of forgoing prosecution with the need for the co-operation to the public interest. Justice Manual, supra note 7, § 9-27.600 (2018).

[80] It is now commonplace for employers to write into employment agreements and internal policies a requirement that employees co-operate in internal investigations. Failure to do so can be grounds for disciplinary action, including suspension without pay or termination. It may be necessary to engage employment counsel to advise the client on co-operation obligations under relevant employment agreements, policies or labour law in the relevant jurisdiction.

[81] Clients should be made aware that, even where no formal or legally enforceable co-operation obligation exists, employers may withhold deferred compensation or post-employment remuneration to incentivise co-operation with an internal investigation.

[82] Garrity v. New Jersey, 385 U.S. 493, 497 (1967); see also United States v. Connolly, No. 16 CR. 0370 (CM), 2019 WL 2120523, at *10 (S.D.N.Y. 2 May 2019).

[83] Connolly, 2019 WL 2120523, at *14.

[84] Id. at *11–14. On the other hand, if the company acted entirely on its own, the resulting statements are not ‘compelled’ by state actors within the meaning of the Fifth Amendment and are therefore freely usable by the government at any later point in time.

[85] For example, counsel should carefully assess whether co-operation will increase the risk that a parallel criminal action is brought against the client by US prosecutors or by civil authorities in a foreign jurisdiction in which the client is licensed or regulated.

[86] Company counsel likely will inform the client accordingly in an Upjohn warning at the beginning of any interview. See Upjohn, 449 U.S. 383, 394 (1981); Model Rules of Prof’l Conduct r. 1.13(f), 4.3. Counsel should similarly advise clients, particularly where they may provide information that could be used against them in a future enforcement proceeding.

[87] The company may even decide to turn over the notes or summaries of the interview or may be required to do so under the laws of the relevant jurisdiction.

[88] Statements of Principle and Code of Practice for Approved Persons, UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), § 2.1A.3 (September 2019), (Statement of Principle 4 provides that ‘[a]n approved person must deal with the FCA, the PRA and other regulators in an open and cooperative way and must disclose appropriately any information of which the FCA or the PRA would reasonably expect notice’) (emphasis in original).

[89] See, e.g., infra note 90.

[90] U.S. Const. amend. V; cf. United States v. Saechao, 418 F.3d 1073 (9th Cir. 2005).

[91] United States v. Allen, 864 F.3d 63 (2d Cir. 2017) (reversing convictions of two Rabobank traders who provided testimony to the FCA in the LIBOR manipulation investigation under threat of prosecution for non-co-operation under UK law, because the Fifth Amendment ‘prohibits the use and derivative use of compelled testimony in an American criminal case against the defendant who provided that testimony’).

[92] The United States has entered into mutual legal assistance treaties (MLATs) or similar bilateral agreements with approximately 70 states, allowing it to enlist the investigatory authority of those states to procure evidence. See generally, Treaties in Force 2020 and Treaties in Force 2022 Supplement, supra note 25. In addition, the United States is party to an agreement with the European Union that enhances mutual legal assistance mechanisms with EU Member States. See Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, European Union–U.S., 16 January 1998, T.I.A.S. 12923. The DOJ’s Office of International Affairs (with the Department of State) negotiates and implements MLATs, administers mutual legal assistance operations and coordinates incoming and outgoing requests. Notably, unlike extradition treaties, MLATs generally do not require dual criminality.

[93] See United Nations, Manual on Mutual Legal Assistance and Extradition (September 2012), For this reason, a request for mutual legal assistance to a foreign authority is often accompanied by a petition to a US court under 18 U.S.C. § 3292 to suspend the running of the statute of limitations during the pendency of a request. A court will grant the request if it finds by a preponderance of the evidence that an official request has been made and it reasonably appears that the evidence is or was in a foreign country. See, e.g., T Markus Funk, Federal Judicial Center International Litigation Guide: Mutual Legal Assistance and Letters Rogatory: A Guide for Judges 15 (2014),

[94] See also Model Rules of Professional Conduct r. 1.13 cmt. 10 (Am. Bar Ass’n 2018) (providing that investigating counsel should advise employees whose interests may be adverse to the corporation that he or she ‘may wish to obtain independent representation’).

[95] Counsel should also bear in mind that US authorities may take a dim view of joint representation, questioning the independence of the client’s testimony or, at the most extreme, alleging that a conflict has arisen and insisting that independent counsel be retained.

[96] While ‘[a]n employee’s cooperation in an internal investigation alone is not sufficient to establish a common interest’, the privilege will be deemed waived unless there is ‘some form of joint strategy’ among the parties. In re Grand Jury Subpoena: Under Seal, 415 F.3d 333, 341 (4th Cir. 2005) (quoting United States v. Weissman, 195 F.3d 96, 100 (2d Cir.1999)); see also United States v. Aramony, 88 F.3d 1369, 1392 (4th Cir. 1996), cert. denied, 520 U.S. 1239 (1997) (‘To be entitled to the protection of this privilege the parties must first share a common interest about a legal matter.’). Furthermore, it has become increasingly common for companies to include language in joint defence agreements allowing the company to unilaterally disclose joint defence materials and information to other parties to the representation. See Ed Magarian and Surya Saxena, ‘Joint Defense Agreements: What Is A Responsible Company To Do?’, 22 Andrews Corp. Officers and Directors Liability Litig. Rep., September 2008, at 1 (2008).

[97] Pool and company counsel representations require the client’s consent to disclose confidential information to others in the pool and ‘use’ such information for the benefit of other clients (while maintaining the privilege to outside parties) under a joint defence agreement. Engagement letters also should clearly explain that pool counsel may use information provided by one client to zealously represent all clients in the pool (though information identified by a client as being confidential will only be shared with express authorisation). Relatedly, clients should be advised not to speak with any third parties about the substance of the investigation to preserve the integrity of the respective clients’ recollections, because those communications will not be protected by the common interest privilege or a related joint defence agreement. See, e.g., United States v. Austin, 416 F.3d 1016, 1021 (9th Cir. 2005) (common interest privilege protects the confidentiality of communications ‘passing from a party to his or her attorney’ and ‘from one party to the attorney for another party’, but only ‘where a joint defence effort or strategy’ exists) (quoting United States v. Schwimmer, 892 F.2d 237, 243 (2d Cir. 1989)).

[98] In China, for example, there is no doctrine of legal privilege. Richard Bartlett, A Lawyer’s guide to working in China, China Law Insight (15 November 2017), And while the European Union provides for the ‘legal professional privilege’, it is comparatively limited, covering only counsel who are admitted to the bar in one of the Member States of the European Union. Patrick Doris and Steve Melrose, ‘Privilege: European Union’, GIR Know-how (2016).

[99] Doug Gallagher, Manasi Raveendran, ‘Attorney-Client Privilege for In-House Counsel’, Am. Bar Ass’n (2017), Privilege issues arise more often in the context of communications with in-house rather than external counsel because, for example, in-house counsel may often play the dual role of offering both legal and business advice.

[100] Ava Borrasso, ‘Privilege and International Implications against the Backdrop of the Panama Papers’, Am. Bar Ass’n (20 July 2016),

[101] Cadence Pharm., Inc. v. Fresenius Kabi USA, LLC, 996 F. Supp. 2d 1015, 1019 (S.D. Cal. 2014). The country with the ‘predominant interest’ is either ‘the place where the allegedly privileged relationship was entered into’ or ‘the place in which the relationship was centered at the time the communication was sent’. Id. (quoting Astra Aktiebolag v. Adrx Pharms., Inc., 208 F.R.D. 92, 98 (S.D.N.Y. 2002)).

[102] The U General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) imposes certain obligations on individuals, organisations and companies who are ‘controllers’ or ‘processors’ of personal data and restricts how they may process and transfer that data. If the controller or processor wishes to transfer the data to a country the European Commission has not deemed adequate, such as the United States, it must identify whether a sufficient basis, or ‘derogation’, applies under the GDPR and implement safeguards to ensure GDPR compliance. One such derogation applies when the transfer is necessary for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims, which commonly applies in the context of criminal or other regulatory investigations, where transfer of data is necessary for the purpose of defending the individual client. See European Data Protection Board, Guidelines 2/2018 on derogations of Article 49 under Regulation 2016/679, 11 (25 May 2018), The data protection and transfer laws of some countries further restrict how data can be shared or used. See, e.g., Schweizerisches Strafgesetzbuch (the Swiss Criminal Code), 21 December 1937, art. 349.

[103] White House, press release, ‘FACT SHEET: United States and European Commission Announce Trans-Atlantic Data Privacy Framework’ (25 March 2022), -announce-trans-atlantic-data-privacy-framework; see also European Commission, press release, ‘European Commission and United States Joint Statement on Trans-Atlantic Data Privacy Framework’ (25 March 2022),

[104] See, e.g., France’s Law 80-538 of 16 July 1980 Relating to the Communication of Economic, Commercial or Technical Documents or Information to Foreign Natural or Legal Persons, Journal Officiel de la République Française, 17 July 1980, art. 1A (Fr.).

[105] See, e.g., Swiss Criminal Code 21 December 1937, SR 757 (1938), as amended by Gesetz, 4 October 1991, AS 2465 (1992).

[106] The law is not entirely settled on this issue. The critical enquiry is whether (1) the materials were created or maintained in the course of employment, and (2) the employee had a reasonable expectation of privacy with respect to the materials. See, e.g., Smyth v. Pillsbury Co., 914 F. Supp. 97, 101 (E.D. Pa. 1996) (no reasonable expectation of privacy in email communications made voluntarily over company email system even where employer told employees electronic communications would be kept confidential); but see Levanthal v. Knapek, 266 F.3d 64, 73 (2d Cir. 2001) (public employee had reasonable expectation of privacy in contents of office computer because, inter alia, employee occupied private office with closed door and had exclusive use of desk, filing cabinet and computer); Kellher v. City of Reading, No. CIV.A.01-3386, 2002 WL 1067442, at *1, *7-8 (E.D. Pa. 29 May 2002) (acknowledging that an employee could have reasonable expectation of privacy in certain company email communications depending on the communication at issue and configuration of the relevant email system, but finding that ‘uncontroverted evidence demonstrates that Plaintiff did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy with respect to her e-mail’).

[107] However, the client may have a cognisable claim that the materials are protected by the attorney–client or other applicable privilege. See, e.g., Sims v. Lakeside School, No. C06-1412RSM, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 69568, at *4-5 (W.D. Wash. 20 Sep. 2007).

[108] Even where a company has not requested materials, it is prudent to advise clients to preserve any emails, notes or other documents that they believe may bear on the investigation. To assure adequate preservation, it may be necessary to engage a reputable third-party forensic technician to image or otherwise preserve the documents or data in question.

[109] Former employees may claim an act of production privilege in refusing to produce documents ‘where the act of production is, itself, (1) compelled, (2) testimonial and (3) incriminating’. In re Three Grand Jury Subpoenas Duces Tecum Dated Jan. 29, 1999, 191 F.3d 173, 178 (2d Cir. 1999). It is not clear, however, how a court might rule where the documents in the former employee’s possession are deemed to be the company’s property, e.g., where the employee took the documents upon leaving the employer without permission and/or in violation of company policy. But see id. at 182–83.

[110] In Braswell v. United States, 487 U.S. 99, 102 (1988), the Supreme Court held that current employees may not claim the act of production privilege, even if those documents are incriminating against the employee, because the employee is an agent of the company and the records were in the employee’s custody in his capacity as an agent. The Court did not address whether the outcome might differ if the records in question were personal to the employee or not maintained in his capacity as an agent of the company. In light of Connolly, former employees in an internal investigation conducted at the behest of the government might have an argument that the act of production privilege applies to them as well. See 2019 WL 2120523.

[111] Id. § 983(j). The government must have probable cause to believe the property constitutes proceeds of crime or was used during the commission of a crime. See 21 U.S.C. 853(e)(2). An indictment returned by a proper grand jury ‘conclusively determines the existence of probable cause’. Kaley v. United States, 571 U.S. 320, 328 (2014) (citing Gerstein v. Pugh, 420 U.S. 103, 117 n.19 (1975)).

[112] If tracing the directly forfeitable property is impossible or the tainted assets are no longer available, substitute assets may be seized. See, e.g., 18 U.S.C. §§ 981, 982; 21 U.S.C. § 853(p).

[113] See Fed. R. Crim. P. 32.2(a).

[114] See 18 U.S.C. §§ 982(a), 1963(e); Fed. R. Crim. P. 32.2(b)(1)(A). Criminal forfeiture is often included as part of a defendant’s sentence. Following a finding of guilt, the government must prove its forfeiture case by a preponderance of the evidence. The sentence, including any forfeiture order, may be appealed to a higher court. The Securities and Exchange Commission may similarly freeze assets through a temporary pretrial restraining order to ensure that funds for a future disgorgement order are available. SEC v. One or More Unknown Traders in the Securities of Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 296. F.R.D. 241, 254 (S.D.N.Y. 2013) (citing SEC v. Unifund SAL, 910 F.2d 1028, 1041 (2d Cir. 1990)).

[115] See 18 U.S.C. §§ 983(a)(4), 984(a)(1), 985(c); see also 18 U.S.C. § 983(a)(1); 19 U.S.C. § 1607. In contrast to a criminal forfeiture, civil forfeiture does not require a criminal conviction; rather, property is forfeitable as an instrumentality of a criminal offence. See United States v. Bajakajian, 524 U.S. 321, 326 (1998); but see United States v. Oriho, No. 19-10291, 2020 WL 4579478 (9th Cir. 10 Aug. 2020) (pretrial order requiring repatriation of funds from Africa to fund future forfeiture violated defendant’s privilege against self-incrimination).

[116] Id. § 985(b)(1).

[117] 21 U.S.C. § 853(p).

[118] See, e.g., United States v. Butler, 543 F. App’x 95, 97 (2d Cir. 2013).

[119] The United States is a party to a number of treaties, as well as other formal and informal agreements, that provide for freezing or seizure of assets in foreign jurisdictions. See, e.g., US Internal Revenue Service, Internal Revenue Manual § (28 Jul. 2003), In addition, US authorities (and private civil litigants) may register seizure or forfeiture orders issued by US courts in foreign jurisdictions in hopes of enforcing those judgments abroad. See, e.g., Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, U.S.-U.K., art. 19(2) 6 January 1994, T.I.A.S. No. 96-1202.

[120] For example, in 2021, the United States settled a civil forfeiture action against assets of Sefira Capital LLC and its subsidiaries, which allegedly accepted millions of dollars of narcotics proceeds laundered through the shadow financial system known as the Black Market Peso Exchange, for investment in various real estate ventures. See DOJ, press release, ‘Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces Settlement Of Civil Forfeiture Claims Against Over $50 Million Laundered Through Black Market Peso Exchange’ (12 January 2021), -against-over. In addition, in 2022, the DOJ announced a further distribution of approximately US$92 million to victims of the FIFA corruption scheme. The funds were forfeited in 2021 following the government’s investigation and prosecution of the wrongdoing. See DOJ, press release, ‘Justice Department Announces Additional Distribution of Approximately $92 Million to Victims in FIFA Corruption Case’ (30 June 2022),

[121] Reputational concerns are likely to be heightened when the proceeding is high profile and the client faces media inquiries. While clients may wish to hire a public relations (PR) firm, any decision to engage a third party should be carefully considered in light of the fact that those communications are often not privileged and could adversely affect the outcome of the proceeding. See, e.g., Universal Standard Inc. v. Target Corp., 331 F.R.D. 80, 92 (S.D.N.Y 2019); Haugh v. Schroder Inv. Mgmt. N. Am. Inc., No. 02-7955, 2003 WL 21998674, at *3 (S.D.N.Y. 25 Aug. 2003); but see, e.g., In re Grand Jury Subpoena Dated March 24, 2003 Directed to (A) Grand Jury Witness Firm and (B) Grand Jury Witness, 265 F. Supp. 2d 321, 330-31 (S.D.N.Y. 2003) (acknowledging situations in which conversations between PR firm, lawyer and client may remain privileged).

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