U.S., Britain Update Extradition Treaty

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The United States and Britain signed new treaties Monday that officials said would expand law enforcement cooperation and add new powers in the war against terrorism.

Attorney General John Ashcroft and British Home Secretary David Blunkett signed an updated version of the extradition treaty between the two countries and a second treaty enabling the two countries to confiscate and share assets of criminal activity.

"This agreements sends a strong signal to criminals that we will not be thwarted by international boundaries," Blunkett said.

Under the asset forfeiture agreement, the U.S. and Britain will have greater authority to seize money and other property from organizations involved in terrorism, criminal racketeering, drug trafficking and other crime.

Similar laws in the United States "have proven effective at crippling illegal operations and dismantling criminal enterprises," Ashcroft said.

The extradition treaty expands and updates a previous agreement, particularly in the areas of white-collar crime, money laundering and terrorism. It also makes it easier for either country to bring each other's fugitives to justice