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Released: April 12, 2012 - US - Bermuda Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty Comes Into Force

THE U.S. CONSULATE GENERAL                                                                                                                

For Immediate Release
April 12, 2012

U.S. - Bermuda Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty Comes into Force

The U.S. – Bermuda Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) today came into force when Bermuda Premier the Hon. Paula Cox and U.S. Consul General Grace Shelton exchanged instruments of ratification on April 12.  Both countries had signed the MLAT on January 12, 2009, the U.S. Senate subsequently ratified the treaty, and President Barack Obama signed the Instrument for Ratification on January 6, 2012. 

The entry into force of the MLAT creates for the first time a treaty-based relationship of mutual legal assistance between the U.S. and Bermuda.  It allows both Bermuda and the United States to counter criminal activities more effectively.  The Treaty should enhance our ability to investigate and prosecute a wide variety of crimes, including economic crimes, money laundering, drug trafficking, and sex offenses. 

The Treaty provides for a broad range of cooperation in criminal matters.  Under the Treaty, the U.S. and Bermuda agree to assist each other by, among other things: 

  • Producing evidence (such as testimony, documents, or items) obtained voluntarily or, where necessary, by compulsion;
  • Arranging for persons, including persons in custody, to travel to the other country to provide evidence;
  • Serving documents;
  • Executing searches and seizures;
  • Locating and identifying persons or items; and
  • Freezing and forfeiting assets or property that may be the proceeds or instrumentalities of crime. 

The U.S. Department of Justice and the Bermuda Ministry of Justice will be in charge of implementing the Treaty.  Consul General Shelton commented, “I welcome this major step in advancing law enforcement cooperation between the U.S. and Bermuda.  The Treaty builds on an already strong base of bilateral collaboration, and I would like to thank Premier Cox and other representatives of the Government of Bermuda - in particular Attorney General Kim Wilson - who were instrumental in helping to conclude the negotiations that led to the signing of this treaty.”