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Are Long Arms Growing Legs? The Expansion of Extraterritorial Jurisdiction

 |  April 5, 2016

Posted by Social Science Research Network

Are Long Arms Growing Legs? The Expansion of Extraterritorial Jurisdiction

Bruce W. Bean (Michigan State University)

Abstract:      On May 27, 2015 the U.S. Department of Justice surprised the entire world by indicting persons associated with the Federation Internationale de Football Association or FIFA and causing the arrest of seven FIFA officials in Zurich.1 On December 3, 2015 a superseding indictment was made public naming additional FIFA related defendants, bringing the total indicted to 41 individuals and corporate entities. Since international football, “soccer” in North America, is not a major sport in the U.S., many, including President Putin, wondered both why and how the DoJ had bothered to become involved.

On January 21, 2016 a nine year investigation into the assassination in London of a former employee of Russia’s security services, Alexander Litvinenko, ended with the publication of an extensive report which concluded that Russia’s Security Service, the FSB, had assassinated Litvenenko in Central London.

“Taking full account of all the evidence and analysis available to me, I find that the FSB operation to kill Mr Litvinenko was probably approved by Mr Patrushev [head of the FSB] and also by President Putin.” (Para. 9.215 Sir Robert Owen Report, January 21, 2016.)

Further examples of the exercise of extraterritorial jurisdiction constantly in the news include
– U.S. drone strikes aimed at killing individuals in Pakistan,
– Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Sudan and Somalia,
– the mysterious murders of Chechen terrorists in Istanbul,
Vienna and Qatar, and
– the application of U.S. antitrust and anti-corruption statutes against foreign companies which may or may not be doing business within the United States.