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U.S. Government May Cooperate with Other Nations in Most Criminal Investigations
Description Appeals court upheld a district court order allowing the U.S. attorney to cooperate with the Russian government by providing information in a criminal tax fraud matter. The court noted that Congress had ordered cooperation with foreign legal matters so long as the court that reviews the request concludes that the request for assistance is reasonable.
Topic Criminal Law
Key Words Criminal Prosecution; Foreign Assistance
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts The Russian government sought assistance from the U.S. government in connection with a criminal investigation of alleged tax fraud. The subject of the investigation, whose identity is confidential and under seal, argued at the district court that the U.S. attorney should not cooperate with the investigation because no criminal proceeding was "imminent." Rather, the subject argued, the Russian government was only "fishing" for information, which the U.S. government had no obligation to provide. The district court rejected that argument and held that the U.S. attorney could cooperate with the Russians; the subject appealed.
Decision Affirmed. The federal law that orders the U.S. government to cooperate with foreign legal proceedings is quite broad. There need be "a judicial or quasi-judicial controversy" at stake. The district court reviewed the documents from the Russian government and concluded that the request for cooperation on information was reasonable. There is no requirement that a criminal prosecution be imminent for the government to cooperate with foreign authorities in such matters.
Citation U.S. v. Sealed 1, 2000 WL 1634226 (9th Cir., 2000)

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