Wednesday, June 29, 2016

On Foreign Enabler Indictments, Sealed Indictments and INTERPOL Red Alerts (6/29/16)

I am told that a number of Swiss bankers and other enablers during the heyday of their U.S. tax games (up to the UBS resolution in 2009 and even beyond that who tried to continue the scam) now fear to leave Switzerland.  Those that have already been indicted will be concerned because of what happened to Raoul Weil, the indicted Swiss banker who ventured out of Switzerland after indictment and was arrested in Italy on an Interpol red notice and was detained and extradited to the U.S. for trial.  (Weil was tried and acquitted.)  So, certainly, those whose indictments have been publicly announced have a choice of trying to resolve their indictment or taking risk should they leave Switzerland.

But,  those who have not been publicly indicted should also be concerned.  The U.S. can have sealed indictments -- and my speculation is that there are some sealed indictments out there for Swiss enablers (bankers and otherwise).  The U.S. can have INTERPOL issue a Red Notice (an INTERPOL device  "identifying and locating these persons with a view to their arrest and extradition or similar lawful action").  With sealed indictments, the enablers may not have a reason to suspect that the U.S. has requested a Red Notice.  See e.g., USAO MD FL press release of 8/31/15, here, stating that there was a sealed indictment and arrest based upon an INTERPOL Red Notice); Jeremy Evans & Andrewas Stargard, Executives Beware: The Long-Arm of the U.S. Government Strikes Again (Paul Hastings Client Alert April 2014) (reporting an extradition in antitrust case, noting that the procedure "likely followed" was the one in an earlier case "using Pisciotti’s sealed indictment to obtain an Interpol red notice, effectively an international arrest warrant" and further noting that "a sealed indictment may leave the [foreign] executive ignorant of any potential risk [of travel]."); and Steven F. Cherry, Leon B. Greenfield, Kurt G. Kastorf, Department of Justice’s First Antitrust Extradition Highlights the Danger of Foreign Travel for Executives Under Investigation (ABA Business Law Today April 2014) (reporting on the same incident).

And, this is not just a Swiss enabler concern.  DOJ has noised for a long time that it is looking beyond Switzerland.

Readers might be interested in the U.S. Attorney Manual provision on Interpol Red Notices, here.  The provsion is short so I quote it in full:
611. Interpol Red Notices 
An Interpol Red Notice is the closest instrument to an international arrest warrant in use today. Interpol (the International Criminal Police Organization) circulates notices to member countries listing persons who are wanted for extradition. The names of persons listed in the notices are placed on lookout lists (e.g., NCIC or its foreign counterpart). When a person whose name is listed comes to the attention of the police abroad, the country that sought the listing is notified through Interpol and can request either his provisional arrest (if there is urgency) or can file a formal request for extradition. 
Please be aware that if a Red Notice is issued, the prosecutor's office is obligated to do whatever work is required to produce the necessary extradition documents within the time limits prescribed by the controlling extradition treaty whenever and wherever the fugitive is arrested. Further, the prosecutor's office is obliged to pay the expenses pursuant to the controlling treaty. Those expenses, which can be quite high, will typically include the costs of translating the extradition documents and may include the costs of hiring local counsel to represent the United States. Further, these obligations, which remain until the fugitive is arrested or the Red Notice is withdrawn, may result in prosecutors who have succeeded the Assistant United States Attorney who originally requested the Red Notice having to prepare the documents and arrange for payment of hefty fees years after the fugitive originally fled from the United States. Therefore, it is important for prosecutors to make certain that the case is significant enough to warrant placing their offices under such a burden in deciding whether or not to request issuance of a Red Notice.
For more on INTERPOL Red Alerts, see:
  • INTERPOL Web Site on "Notice," here.
  • Wikipedia on Interpol Notice, here.

For More on Sealed Indictments
  • Sealed Indictments - A Primer (Federal Tax Crimes Blog 7/11/12; revised 6/19/16), here.
  • Sealing an Indictment Pending Arrest in Tax Cases (Federal Tax Crimes Blog 7/3/14), here.

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