Travel warnings usually warn a country's citizens to avoid travel to nations where they may become victims of crime, but recently the Government of Russia issued a unique twist on such a warning. It cautioned those of its nationals that are wanted in the United States on criminal charges against traveling into, or through, countries that have extradition treaties with America.
The press release obviously was issued after a number of Russian nationals were arrested, and ultimately extradited, from third countries with extradition agreements with the United States. Russia and America do not have an extradition treaty, which the readers of this blog are familiar with, in connection with the extended stay in Moscow of the then-fugitive, Richard Ammar Chichakli, said to have been the CFO of Viktor Bout.
The impact of this announcement is to codify what many observers of Russia had suspected for some time, that the government there has no interest in bringing its white-collar criminals to justice, if they committed their crimes in the United States. Customer relationship officers at international banks located in the United States may want to bear that in mind, in assessing risk levels for Russian nationals.
Not only will Russia not assist in bringing Russian criminals to justice, but it is actively protecting them. Remember that the next time your bank contemplates the extension of credit to a Russian corporation. Of course, you risk financial loss in any transaction, but Russian participants in any financial crime committed against your bank will most likely never have to pay for their actions.