The Long Arm of Law Enforcement

This is an Insight article, written by a selected partner as part of GIR's co-published content. Read more on Insight

In summary

Corporate investigations in the Asia-Pacific region frequently involve misconduct that spans multiple jurisdictions and, as a result, often attracts the attention of various law enforcement and regulatory authorities. It is critical to be aware of the powers that authorities wield and how this may impact on or disrupt the company’s investigations and business operations more generally. This article considers the key aspects of the legal assistance and cooperation available to authorities in the Asia-Pacific region. The questions addressed are as follows:

  • How can government authorities obtain evidence in other jurisdictions?
  • To what extent do government authorities cooperate and share information with their counterparts in other jurisdictions?
  • How can law enforcement pursue criminal prosecution against an individual located in another jurisdiction?

We conclude by highlighting the practical considerations, drawn from our experience in handling these issues in the context of multi-jurisdictional investigations.

Discussion points

  • The mutual legal assistance treaty network is a well-established mechanism for countries to provide each other with assistance in corporate investigations. However, it is time consuming, which has led to the use of more informal methods of assistance, putting at risk legal protections such as data privacy and privileges.
  • In recognition of the increase of cross-border investigations, new cloud laws have been enacted in some countries to tackle cross-border data requests from cloud technology providers in a more time- and cost-effective manner.
  • China enacted a law in 2018 that imposes a requirement to obtain prior approval from the government before providing evidence and information for criminal proceedings outside China. This poses challenges in managing requests made to China-based entities for legal assistance from authorities outside China.
  • Cooperation between regulators and law enforcement across borders is increasingly common and effective, which is evident in the numerous large-scale international corporation investigations reported in the past year.
  • Actions taken by law enforcement authorities and regulators in conducting their own inquiries can severely disrupt a company’s internal investigations and business operations more generally. Companies can and should take steps to manage these disruptions.

Referenced in this article

  • United States: Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act
  • United Kingdom: Crime (Overseas Production Orders) Act 2019; and the Overseas Production Orders and Requests for Interception (Designation of Agreement) Regulations 2020
  • China: International Criminal Judicial Assistance Law
  • United Nations: UN Model Law on Extradition and UN Model Treaty on Extradition

Obtaining evidence in other jurisdictions

Mutual legal assistance treaties

One of the key mechanisms available to authorities to obtain evidence from other jurisdictions is by seeking the cooperation of a counterpart authority in that jurisdiction through a mutual legal assistance treaties (MLAT).

Countries may enter into multilateral or bilateral arrangements to facilitate mutual assistance. For instance, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations multilateral treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters has Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam as signatories. By contrast, Hong Kong and China have opted to enter into bilateral treaties with individual countries.

Each jurisdiction will generally implement MLAT obligations through domestic legislation. These laws then provide a domestic basis for fulfilling the obligation to provide assistance in criminal matters, including obtaining statements, documents and performing searches and seizures of information. A request made and approved through the formal MLAT mechanism will then be enforceable in the relevant jurisdiction.

In practice, the process for obtaining assistance can often be quite difficult. MLATs typically require a process to be followed, which can take time and requires the satisfaction of various criteria. In particular, MLATs will generally contain a number of circumstances in which a request must be refused or postponed.

As a result, many enforcement agencies might seek first to rely on informal channels, seeking assistance through their overseas counterparts rather than formally making the request through a MLAT. If this is the case, the request may not be enforceable and any assistance provided by the relevant individual or company will be voluntary in nature. Accordingly, where a company is receiving a request with a cross-border element, it is important to understand the nature of any requests being made to identify whether the company is being compelled to assist, on what basis and the consequences of acceding to the request.

In circumstances where the request is voluntary in nature, consideration should be given to the applicability of other laws, such as data privacy, or the availability of legal professional privilege. In the case of data privacy, many statutes will provide protection for information that has been released as a result of compulsion. Such protection is unlikely to be available where the information has been voluntarily produced. Similarly, where legal professional privilege attaches to the document, voluntary production of that document will amount to a waiver of privilege. Although a limited waiver of privilege could be used, consideration will need to be given to whether that will be effective in the circumstances.

Extraterritorial evidence collection and the cloud

With the increasing use of cloud storage by businesses, it is becoming more common for data relevant to a criminal investigation to be stored in a different jurisdiction. This has often resulted in a need to rely on MLATs to obtain that data, which can slow down the investigative process. Following the enactment of the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data (CLOUD) Act and the Crime (Overseas Production Orders) Act 2019 (COPOA) in the United States in 2018 and the United Kingdom in 2019 respectively, these two jurisdictions have now entered into the US–UK Bilateral Data Access Agreement (the Agreement). The development in the United States and United Kingdom is likely to have a ripple effect, spreading internationally to prompt law reform and change practice in other jurisdictions. In fact, it has been reported that the US Department of Justice is negotiating similar agreements with representatives from the European Union and Australia.

Looking to the United States, the CLOUD Act that was passed in 2018 provides a particular type of production order for data targeted at technology providers and may, prima facie, apply to data located in jurisdictions outside the United States, albeit subject to a formal process for challenge under certain specified grounds. It provides a framework for foreign governments to enter into bilateral agreements with the United States with the effect of permitting that jurisdiction’s law enforcement authorities to make requests directly to US service providers, rather than via the US government under a MLAT. Reciprocal arrangements must be made to allow the United States to request electronic data from service providers in that country.

Similarly, COPOA was passed by the United Kingdom to facilitate the application by UK-based law enforcement agencies for production orders in the United Kingdom that are capable of being served upon communications service providers based outside the United Kingdom, to assist with UK investigations and prosecutions of serious crimes. Similar to the CLOUD Act, COPOA provides for international cooperation arrangements to be entered into, enabling those orders to be served and recognised outside the United Kingdom and reciprocal recognition of similar orders from the foreign jurisdiction in the United Kingdom.

The United States and the United Kingdom subsequently entered into the Agreement to implement cooperation under the CLOUD Act and COPOA respectively in 2019, pursuant to which regulations have since been passed in the United Kingdom effective from 28 February 2020.[1] The effect of this is that overseas production orders can now be made by the courts in either jurisdiction to permit law enforcement agencies from that country to go directly to tech companies based in the other country to access electronic data. The aim of the Agreement and implementing regulations is to put in place a more efficient mechanism for law enforcement agencies to acquire relevant information for investigations, while still imposing sufficient protection to prevent abuse of the Agreement. The UK Home Office published a statement shortly after conclusion of the Agreement highlighting that the MLAT process ‘which see requests for communications data from law enforcement agencies submitted and approved by central governments . . . can often take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years’ but that ‘the agreement will see the process reduced to a matter of weeks or even days’.[2] The UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) director Lisa Osofsky commented that the Agreement is a desirable tool for investigation and enforcement to tackle growing threat to the United Kingdom’s financial markets from international fraud and money laundering.[3]

However, these arrangements are not without their detractors. For instance, concern has been raised over requiring a cloud provider to challenge a production order in an overseas court. Although protections also exist for legal privilege and confidential personal information, the fast turnaround for production and the concern around differences between the concepts or privilege and personal information have been grounds for concern.

For those subject to such orders, the benefit is that they avoid the situation of a company being subject to conflicting legal obligations – most commonly, the obligation to disclose data by the law of the requesting jurisdiction while at the same time being obliged not to disclose data by the privacy or data protection laws of the data host jurisdiction.

The Chinese blocking statute

China enacted the International Criminal Judicial Assistance Law (ICJAL) on 26 October 2018, which in essence prevents those within China from providing assistance in criminal proceedings outside the jurisdiction. The ICJAL defers to MLATs, on the condition that basic principles of Chinese laws are not violated.

Under the ICJAL, individuals and companies are required to obtain approval from the Chinese government before disclosing evidence or access to witnesses located in China to overseas criminal enforcement authorities. Chinese authorities are also prohibited from seeking assistance from their overseas counterparts without obtaining a similar approval. Where approval is granted, the Chinese authorities have the power to monitor and intervene in the testimonial or evidence gathering process in China.

Although the Chinese authorities have clarified that only the disclosure of evidence that is directly in connection with foreign criminal proceedings should follow the ICJAL, they have not provided any commentary or guidance on the practical application of the ICJAL. There have been no cases in China in which the requirement of obtaining prior government approval was applied. As such, the practical application of this requirement by the Chinese authorities remains unclear.

The practical effect of this law in the United States has been considered in a federal district court in the District of Columbia in which the ICJAL was cited as a basis for not complying with a subpoena.[4] The court ultimately determined that in light of the United States’s security interest involved in the matter, the importance of the information subpoenaed and the futility of previous reliance on the MLAT between the United States and China, the recipient of the subpoena was compelled to produce information subpoenaed by the US Attorney’s Office regardless of the requirements of the ICJAL. In a separate matter, the US court merely commented that it is unknown whether China will in practice use the ICJALto stall requests for documents and information for criminal investigations in other jurisdictions.[5]

Since the ICJAL has not been considered in detail by courts out of the jurisdiction, it is unclear how the ICJAL will practically affect requests for information and documents from foreign authorities, and how freely the Chinese government will provide such consent. However, should consent not be forthcoming, a multinational company may have to choose between violating the ICJAL or being held in contempt of a production order.

In managing the risk arising under the ICJAL, corporations that receive requests for legal assistance by other countries in relation to information held within China will need to weigh various matters, including the relationship with the government authority or authorities outside mainland China and the nature of the information sought (including the likely sensitivity of that in the eyes of the Chinese authorities and whether it could contain information falling within the State Secrets Law or the Cybersecurity Law). Where approval is sought from the Chinese government and the matter was not already on their radar, such a request could raise interest and prompt delays.

Cooperation between authorities

Aside from MLATs and other production orders, regulators and enforcement authorities have developed their own tools to enhance their investigative powers. These tools typically stem from ‘soft law’ instruments such as memorandums of understanding (MOUs) between two or more parties, although facilitated by domestic legislation or regulation in each jurisdiction.

Financial services regulators

One sector that has shown great appetite for setting up cooperation channels between regulators is the financial services sector. Regulators rely on a variety of mechanisms for cooperation, including bilateral MOUs and bilateral agreements, as well as multiparty MOUs.

Bilateral cooperation

Financial regulators in the Asia-Pacific have entered into numerous MOUs and cooperation agreements with their counterparts in the region, as well as their equivalents in the European Union, the United Kingdom and the United States. By way of example, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority has entered into MOUs and other formal arrangements with multiple banking supervisory authorities outside the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.[6] Broadly, these cover the sharing and exchange of information to assist in the supervision of banks that operate in both the signatories’ jurisdictions as well as regular or informal meetings to discuss common issues.

In the investigations context, bilateral cooperation agreements can be used to allow regulators to share information and keep it confidential between the parties to that agreement. For example, in July 2019, the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission signed a tripartite MOU with the China Securities Regulatory Commission and the Ministry of Finance of Mainland China regarding audit working papers in China arising from the audits of Hong Kong listed-Chinese companies. The MOU is intended to combat misconduct such as corporate fraud and misfeasance of Chinese companies listed in Hong Kong and improve disclosures by listed applicants and listed companies. This increases the level of authorities’ access to information in the context of corporate investigation.

Furthermore, in recognition of the ability to aggregate, store, process and transmit data across borders as important to detect cross-border money laundering and terrorist financing patterns, defend against cyberattacks, and manage and assess risk on a global basis, Japan and the United States have since January 2019 begun sharing fingerprint data among their law enforcement agencies under a bilateral agreement.[7] The two countries have also entered into a Digital Trade Agreement in October 2019 to allow cross-border data flows and eliminate restrictions on cross-border transfer of information by electronic means. Singapore and the United States have also made a joint statement in February 2020 on their common intention of financial data sharing to foster development of the financial sector.

Multilateral cooperation

There are various multilateral cooperation instruments. For example, the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) established a Multilateral Memorandum of Understanding Concerning Consultation and Cooperation and the Exchange of Information (MMOU), which currently has 124 signatories.[8] Members of IOSCO are typically the primary securities or futures regulator in a particular jurisdiction. The MMOU provides for cross-border enforcement cooperative arrangements including investigatory assistance and information exchange with overseas regulators. Information exchange under the MMOU has increased a hundred-fold since its inception in 2002.[9]

In March 2017, the Enhanced MMOU (EMMOU) was approved by IOSCO.[10] This fosters greater cross-border enforcement cooperation. It was introduced to meet the challenges of combating financial misconduct in global financial markets, especially in light of technological advances. A handful of regulators have signed it to date, including the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the South Korea Financial Services Commission, the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, the Alberta Securities Commission, the Securities Commission of the Bahamas, the British Columbia Securities Commission, Ontario Securities Commission, the Quebec Autorité des marchés financiers, the Dubai Financial Services Authority, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority and the UK Financial Conduct Authority.

The EMMOU states that authorities will provide each other with the fullest assistance permissible to investigate suspected violations, ensure compliance and enforce their respective laws and regulations. This includes powers to obtain and share audit working papers, existing internet service provider records and telephone records, freeze assets and compel physical attendance for testimony and interviews. This constitutes a potentially powerful tool on the part of signatories.

Anti-corruption agencies

Like financial regulators, anti-corruption agencies actively liaise to fight graft. In fact, around 13 per cent of foreign bribery cases are brought to the attention of law enforcement authorities through the use of formal and informal mutual legal assistance between countries for related criminal investigations.[11] Although cooperation and collaboration outside formal mutual legal assistance channels does exist and is, in fact, on the rise,[12] it is widely acknowledged that there is a need for increased coordination.[13]

The United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC),[14] which has 187 parties and 140 state signatories, provides a basis for anti-corruption agencies to cooperate.[15] Under the UNCAC, state parties have agreed to cooperate with one another in every aspect of the fight against corruption, including prevention, investigation and the prosecution of offenders. In particular, state parties are to afford the widest measure of mutual legal assistance in investigations, prosecutions and judicial proceedings in relation to the offences under UNCAC, including undertaking measures to support the tracing, freezing, seizure and confiscation of the proceeds of corruption. Other provisions provide for the extradition of offenders,[16] transfer of sentenced persons[17] and law enforcement cooperation and joint investigations.[18] The July 2020 OECD and UN report on the G20 2030 Sustainability Goals highlighted that relatively few countries regularly use the UNCAC as a legal basis for mutual legal assistance, extradition or law enforcement cooperation.

The UK SFO has emphasised the need to cooperate more effectively across jurisdictions and with cross-border enforcement agencies.[19] The SFO has an international team whose role is to liaise with and advise case teams to assist with cross-border requests and collaboration. However, a report released in October 2019 by HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate suggested that cases with overseas elements were nonetheless a frequent cause for delays. While this may be inevitable and for the most part out of the control of the investigating officers, the report did note that better case management and more thoughtful interaction with overseas counterparts could minimise those delays.[20] As a result, more effective collaboration with their counterparts in other jurisdictions will undoubtedly be a focus.

Similarly, in 2018 the US Deputy Attorney General announced a new US Department of Justice (DOJ) policy to enhance coordination with other law enforcement agencies. Termed the policy against ‘piling on’, the aim ‘is to enhance relationships with our law enforcement partners in the United States and abroad, while avoiding unfair duplicative penalties’ by requiring DOJ attorneys to coordinate with one another. Early indications suggest an increased willingness to coordinate and cooperate with foreign enforcement agencies. So far, the policy is generally viewed as being effective in acting as a beacon for more coordination and cooperation among foreign authorities. Since its implementation, the DOJ and the Securities and Exchange Commission coordinated resolutions and afforded credit for penalties paid to other foreign authorities where appropriate. This appears to have prompted consideration of a no ‘piling on’ policy at a broader international level. In December 2019, the chair of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) began lobbying for a global ‘no piling on’ standard, citing the US DOJ’s policy of no ‘piling on’ as model, the chair urged the other countries to adopt similar measures.[21]


Multinational companies will often need to be sensitive to the potential risks of employees finding themselves caught up in an investigation. Where an individual may provide assistance to the authority as a witness, the mechanisms set out in the relevant MLAT or MOU will provide some guidance as to the process of obtaining assistance in the jurisdiction in which the individual is located. However, in circumstances where the employee finds himself or herself a target of the investigation, the foreign authority may lay charges and ultimately seek to extradite that individual so that he or she can face trial.

Extradition refers to a legal process by which a person who is accused or convicted of a criminal offence (person sought) is legally surrendered by one jurisdiction (requested jurisdiction) to be transferred to another jurisdiction (requesting jurisdiction) to be tried, sentenced or to serve a term of imprisonment. Extradition may take place pursuant to treaties (bilateral or multilateral) or ad hoc arrangements, in both cases usually supported by domestic legislation in the requested jurisdiction and the requesting jurisdiction.

Most countries have entered into bilateral treaties with other countries providing for extradition arrangements between the two jurisdictions. Examples of multilateral treaties include the European Convention on Extradition[22] and the Inter-American Convention on Extradition.[23] Subject matter specific treaties may also provide for extradition obligations, such as the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime[24] or the UNCAC. Unless a country enters into a treaty imposing such an obligation, there is no duty in international law to surrender an individual.

Countries will normally make an assessment of other countries prior to entry into an extradition treaty in order to be satisfied that surrendered fugitives will be subject to minimum standards of treatment in relation to due process and punishment.

The content of extradition treaties and domestic laws implementing those treaty obligations clearly varies depending on the jurisdictions involved. However, the UN Model Law on Extradition[25] (Model Law) and the UN Model Treaty on Extradition[26] (Model Treaty) provide a framework that is intended to reflect international practice. The overarching elements the Model Treaty addresses are as follows:

  • Matters relating to extradition of the Person Sought from the Requested Jurisdiction (otherwise referred to as passive extradition):
    • the substantive conditions for extradition;
    • the grounds for refusal of an extradition request; and
    • the process for extradition proceedings and documentary requirements.
  • Matters relating to extradition of the Person Sought to the Requesting Jurisdiction (otherwise referred to as active extradition):
    • the process for making a request, including the competent executive and judicial bodies; and
    • the treatment of the Person Sought in the Requested Jurisdiction and limits on action that can be taken and on re-extradition.
  • Matters relating to transit of the Person Sought through a third jurisdiction on their way from the Requested Jurisdiction to the Requesting Jurisdiction.

Some general points to note about the conditions for extradition under the Model Law and Model Treaty are as follows.

Extradition is only available in respect of offences that are punishable under the laws of both jurisdictions by imprisonment for a minimum specified period – known as the ‘double criminality’ requirement.

The scope of extraditable offences can be further limited to specific crimes. Alternatively, a specified list of crimes may be excluded from the bilateral arrangements.

However, where extradition of a person is sought for an offence against a law relating to taxation, customs duties, exchange control or other revenue matters, extradition may not be refused on the ground that the law of the requested jurisdiction does not impose precisely the same kind of tax or duty or does not contain a tax, customs duty or exchange regulation of the same kind as the requesting jurisdiction.

There are mandatory grounds for refusal of extradition. This includes where the offence is regarded by the requested jurisdiction as an offence of a political nature, or where the requested jurisdiction has substantial grounds for believing that the request has been made for the purpose of prosecuting or punishing the person sought on account of his or her race, religion, nationality, ethnic origin, political opinions or gender.

There are also mandatory grounds for refusal where the person sought has been or would be subjected in the requesting jurisdiction to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, or where judgment has been rendered in absentia, the person sought has not had sufficient notice of the trial or the opportunity to arrange for his or her defence.

In addition, there are various optional grounds for refusal, including where the offence in relation to which the request has been made carries the death penalty under the law of the requesting jurisdiction or where extradition would be incompatible with humanitarian considerations in view of age, health or other personal circumstances of that person.

There are also optional grounds for refusal in respect of extraterritorial offences (where the alleged offence has been committed outside the territory of either jurisdiction) where the requested jurisdiction’s law does not provide for such an offence committed outside its territory in comparable circumstances.

INTERPOL Red Notices

The International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) is an intergovernmental organisation whose membership comprises the overwhelming majority of countries’ law enforcement agencies.

The Red Notice system is a process by which the law enforcement agency in a member country can issue a request to locate and provisionally arrest an individual pending extradition.[27] A Red Notice is issued by the INTERPOL General Secretariat at the request of that member country based on a valid national arrest warrant.

The system is not supported by any legal framework and INTERPOL cannot compel any member country to arrest an individual who is the subject of a Red Notice. Publication of a Red Notice simply provides notice to member countries that the person is wanted.

Member country practice in respect of Red Notices will vary. Some member countries will treat a Red Notice as an arrest warrant whereas others will require a domestic warrant to be issued prior to any detention. A member country may detain the subject or may instead begin deportation proceedings against the subject. If the subject is stopped at an airport, the country may also simply require the subject to return to the country of departure.

The process for issue of a notice is relatively straightforward.

A relevant law enforcement agency in a member country requests a Red Notice via their National Crime Bureau. Each member country hosts an INTERPOL National Central Bureau, which connects its national law enforcement with other countries and with the INTERPOL General Secretariat.

Compliance checks will then be conducted and, assuming the request meets the necessary criteria (see below), the INTERPOL General Secretariat issues a Red Notice. Law enforcement agencies in all member countries are then alerted through INTERPOL’s global network.

A number of conditions must be met before INTERPOL can publish a Red Notice:

  • the offence concerned cannot be an offence that is of political, military, religious or racial character;
  • the offence concerned cannot be an offence that relates to behavioural or cultural norms, family or private matters, administrative matters or private disputes;
  • for a person sought for prosecution, the offence must be one that is punishable by at least two years of maximum deprivation of liberty;
  • for a person sought to serve a sentence, the sentence remaining to be served must be for at least six months of imprisonment;
  • the person sought must be sufficiently identified by name, photograph, etc;
  • the requesting agency must provide sufficient judicial data including the relevant facts, charges, laws, penalties and a valid arrest warrant or judicial decision; and
  • the requesting agency must provide assurances that extradition will be sought upon arrest, and that relevant authorities for extradition have been consulted.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has recently formally recognised that a number of countries have been abusing Red Notices by issuing them against perceived political enemies and based on activities that would otherwise be protected in western democracies.[28] This has been a concern among the international community for some time. The Council has passed a resolution to address the abuse of Red Notices, which has been recognised to most commonly occur in situations involving political abuse, corruption and failure to seek extradition. Among other things, the resolution calls on INTERPOL to further improve transparency by disclosing data relating to the effectiveness of its review mechanisms and to examine with particular care any repetitive requests as well as requests submitted by those that have previously submitted a high number of abusive requests.

Practical considerations

Actions taken by law enforcement authorities and regulators in conducting their own inquiries can severely disrupt the company’s internal investigations and business operations more generally. The extent and nature will inevitably vary by reference to the nature of the case, the governmental agencies involved and, frequently, the political environment in that jurisdiction.

Nonetheless, there are some generally applicable practical considerations to consider.

When addressing a request from an out-of-jurisdiction authority or regulator, make sure to carefully consider the nature of the request and whether the company (or individual) is being compelled to produce the information. In some circumstances, voluntary production of information to a regulator or authority can cause the company to lose protections around data privacy and legal professional privilege that might otherwise be available. Equally, insisting on relying on your strict legal rights, even for good reason, may frustrate some agencies who will see this as evasive.

Voluntary sharing of information among group entities to placate law enforcement authorities can create an expectation of such conduct in the future. This may mean that a later refusal attracts even more suspicion than it would have had that precedent not been set.

Before responding to a request (either voluntary or compelled), ensure that the company is aware of any potential restrictions or blocking statutes that might apply. There may be a tension between the laws of the jurisdiction from which the request or order originates and the jurisdiction where the information is held. Although it may not be possible to resolve that tension, the company should make sure it is aware of the potential risk.

When considering any strategy for addressing self-reporting, whether on a voluntary or an obligated basis, consider the prospect of information being shared among the relevant government agencies and how that impacts which agencies a report is made to, when that occurs and what is said.

In circumstances where an individual is potentially subject to criminal charges in another jurisdiction, consider the company’s position and how the risk could be mitigated if the employee is retained. Even in circumstances where the allegations are considered unfounded or there is a disagreement with the alleged crime from a policy perspective, consider how this impacts the employees’ ability to travel and, in regulated industries, their fitness and propriety. Keep in mind also that INTERPOL Red Notices can be misused, although the process for challenging such notices is protracted when compared with the rapid speed with which they can be issued.


Managing multinational investigations is always challenging and can be particularly so with jurisdictions in the Asia-Pacific region. It is important for companies and their lawyers to be mindful of the web of government agencies that may take an interest in the conduct under investigation.


[1] The Overseas Production Orders and Requests for Interception (Designation of Agreement) Regulations 2020.

[4] In Re: Sealed Case 442 US App DC 378.

[5] In Re Grand Jury Investigation of Possible Violations of 18 USC 1956 and 50 USC 1705.

[8] International Organization of Securities Commissions, Signatories to Appendix A and Appendix B List, available at:

[9] International Organization of Securities Commissions, Multilateral Memorandum of Understanding Conserning Consultation and Cooperation and the Exchange of Information (MMoU), available at:

[11] OECD Foreign Bribery Report, 2014.

[12] Transparency International, Exporting Corruption – Progress Report 2018: Assessing Enforcement of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention (2018) at 16.

[13] See OECD Working Group on Bribery, 2016 Data on Enforcement of the Anti-Bribery Convention – Special focus on international cooperation (November 2017); Transparency International, Exporting Corruption – Progress Report 2018: Assessing Enforcement of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention (2018) at 17.

[14] UN General Assembly, United Nations Convention Against Corruption, 31 October 2003, A/58/422, available at:

[16] Article 44 UNCAC.

[17] Article 45 UNCAC.

[18] Articles 48 and 49 UNCAC.

[19] Speeches by Lisa Osofsky (Director of SFO), 2019 and Matthew Wagstaff (Joint Head of Bribery & Corruption) 2018.

[20] HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate, Case progression in the Serious Fraud Office: Review of case progression systems and processes between case acceptance and charge (October 2019):

[21] Global Investigations Review, ‘OECD mulls common anti-piling on policy’, 6 December 2019, available at:

[22] Council of Europe, European Convention on Extradition, 13 December 1957, ETS 24, available at:

[23] Organization of American States, Inter-American Convention on Extradition, 25 February 1981, available at:

[24] UN General Assembly, United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime: resolution / adopted by the General Assembly, 8 January 2001, A/RES/55/25, available at:

[25] UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Model Law on Extradition (2004) available at:

[26] UN General Assembly, Model Treaty on Extradition, resolution / adopted by the General Assembly,
14 December 1990, A/RES/45/116, available at:

[28] Parliamentary Assembly Council of Europe, Abusive recourse to the Interpol system: the need for more stringent legal safeguards, Resolution 2161 (2017); and Parliamentary Assembly Council of Europe, Interpol reform and extradition proceedings: building trust by fighting abuse, Resolution 2315 (2019),

Unlock unlimited access to all Global Investigations Review content