The United States and Russia have worked together successfully on many law enforcement issues, said U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in a recent speech in St. Petersburg. These include dismantling transnational organized crime networks, illegal human trafficking rings, and global financial fraud schemes. There has also been progress in combating gang violence, cybercrime, intellectual property theft, government corruption, and child exploitation.
But there is opportunity for greater cooperation not only with Russia but many other countries on combatting global terrorism and international crime. “Because opportunity and prosperity cannot be realized without security,” said Mr. Holder, “the United States will continue to direct every resource and tool at our command from diplomatic and military tactics, to our courts and intelligence capabilities to defeat the global terror network.”
The United States is also committed to strengthening efforts to promote good governance and effective law enforcement, and to combat and prevent public corruption. This work is essential in creating the conditions for economic growth and modernization. Once corruption takes hold, political institutions tend to lose legitimacy, threatening democratic stability, and the rule of law. Corruption undermines the health of international markets, stifling competition and repelling foreign investment. It is also often a gateway crime, one that allows money laundering, gang violence, terrorism, and other crimes to thrive.
Corruption, said Mr. Holder, is a transnational problem. Fighting it successfully requires a fundamental shift in the way business leaders and public officials conduct and think of themselves. The United States has made great strides in recent years with its enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative, which targets and recovers the proceeds of foreign official corruption that have been laundered into or through the U.S.
Prosecution is not the only effective way to curb global corruption. Governments must also work with business leaders to encourage and enforce sound corporate governance. APEC 2012 presents an opportunity for the U.S. and Russia to work together with the business community on this important issue.
Measurable progress is possible in the battle against transnational crime. “If we remain committed,” said Attorney General Holder, “I have no doubt about our ability to transform this extraordinary moment into a new era of progress, peace and unity, freedom and prosperity, and opportunity and justice for all.”