The Economist critically reports about the US legal system’s international reach. The article identifies several reasons for the activity of American prosecutors:
- The US feels entitled to run down anybody who directly or indirectly uses services of the US banking system “or plans an illegal scheme on its soil.”
- Persons may also be charged on the basis of violations of the “Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organisations Act” or the “Travel Act.” The latter stipulates that it is illegal to use “any facility in interstate commerce to carry out an illegal activity.”
- Plea-bargaining is common, in contrast to Europe. This helps to build cases bottom up.
- While European justice systems emphasize “comity”—not interfering with other countries’ legal affairs unless war crimes are concerned—this is not the case in the US.
In another article, The Economist reports about the US Treasury’s
powers to act against those who facilitate financial crime, anywhere in the world, by labelling them a “primary money-laundering concern”
based on section 311 of America’s “Patriot Act” of 2001. The report suggests that the section is used as a political instrument and that double standards apply. Moreover,
[i]t is an administrative procedure, not a judicial one. Only the Treasury knows how much evidence it has, and how reliable it is.