By the end of 2006, the Brazilian government intends to negotiate and sign judicial cooperation agreements with 50 countries that offer the greatest potential for exchanges, as well as those known as tax havens.
Judicial cooperation agreements on penal matters currently exist with nine countries: Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Colombia, the United States, France, Italy, Peru, and Portugal.
The Asset Recovery and International Judicial Cooperation Department, which was created last year and is subordinated to the National Secretariat of Justice in the Ministry of Justice, is the organ responsible for promoting these agreements.
The next agreement to be signed, by the end of this year, is with the United Kingdom. Agreements are also being negotiated with South Africa, Germany, Australia, the Bahamas, Spain, Hong Kong, Hungary, Jersey, the Cayman Islands, Israel, Liechtenstein, Poland, and the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal, San Tome and Principe, and East Timor).
Among treaties that have already been signed, those with South Korea, Lebanon, Ukrania, and all the member countries of the Organization of American States await Congressional approval.
Treaties also have been signed with Switzerland, Cuba, and China but have not yet been submitted to the Congress.
“The Ministry of Justice has been working harder and harder to conclude agreements, in order to obtain evidence in other countries and to be able more quickly to block assets, acquire information, and recover such assets in the future,” explained the National Secretary of Justice, Cláudia Chagas.
The signing of these agreements represents one of the principal goals of the Brazilian government, as defined in the National Strategy to Combat Money-Laundering (Encla), launched at the end of 2003.
According to Chagas, the objective is to give the State greater efficiency and agility in the war on money-laundering.
“There is still no judicial globalization compatible with the globalization of crime, so that is what we are trying to construct: creating ways to increase the number of investigations and increase the number of convictions and, on the other hand, work on prevention,” she pointed out.
Reporter: Juliana Andrade
Translator: David Silberstein