United States Agrees to Divide Assets of Extradited Individuals
By Dialogo July 16, 2012
The United States agrees with the principle of fairly dividing the assets seized from Colombian criminals extradited to the United States, Colombian Attorney General Luis Eduardo Montealegre declared on July 12, after meeting with his U.S. counterpart, Eric Holder.
Both countries will begin the steps to update their legal agreements to make that division possible, the attorney general said at a press conference at the conclusion of his first visit to the United States.
Since 2007, Colombia has succeeded in taking possession of assets inside the country worth 3 billion dollars, as a result of investigations in collaboration with the United States, Montealegre explained.
Colombia also asked the U.S. Government for its support for the creation of a school to train prosecutors and police that could have a regional dimension, in order to fight organized crime.
For his part, Holder proposed a meeting of regional attorneys general, one of the topics discussed at the recent Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Montealegre revealed.
“Colombia expressed to the attorney general the need to review and update earlier agreements that mention the possibility of a fair division, for the purpose of dividing up the assets seized in the United States (…) from extradited individuals,” Montealegre said.
“The United States accepted” that those assets “are going to be divided fairly,” Montealegre added.
Also present at the meeting was the administrator of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Michelle Leonhart, with whom agreement was reached to reinforce collaboration in order to pursue the seizure of assets elsewhere in the world, again according to the attorney general.
The Justice Department’s press services were unable to immediately confirm Attorney General Montealegre’s account.
The Colombian attorney general also met with members of the U.S. Congress, high-ranking State Department officials, and representatives of human-rights organizations during two days of working meetings in Washington.
In regard to the school for prosecutors and police, “the attorney general (Holder) demonstrated complete readiness to talk to other departments (of the U.S. Government) with the aim of promoting its creation,” he said.
Following years of extraditing major drug traffickers, members of paramilitary militias, and guerrillas to the United States, Colombia wants to have definitive convictions or acquittals in order to potentially continue legal proceedings against those individuals on its territory, Montealegre said.