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                      Office of the Press Secretary
                        (Cape Town, South Africa)
For Immediate Release                                     March 27, 1998


With a view to receiving the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification, I transmit herewith the Treaty between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Republic of Venezuela on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, signed at Caracas on October 12, 1997. I transmit also, for the information of the Senate, the report of the Department of State with respect to the Treaty.

The Treaty is one of a series of modern mutual legal assistance treaties being negotiated by the United States for the purpose of countering criminal activities more effectively. The Treaty should be an effective tool to assist in the prosecution of a wide variety of modern criminals, including those involved in terrorism, other violent crimes, drug trafficking, and money laundering and other white collar crime. The Treaty is self-executing, and will not require new legislation.

The Treaty provides for a broad range of cooperation in criminal matters. Mutual assistance available under the Treaty includes: (1) locating or identifying persons or items; (2) serving documents; (3) taking testimony or statements of persons; (4) transferring persons in custody, or persons subject to criminal proceedings, for testimony or other purposes; (5) providing documents, records, files, and articles of evidence; (6) executing requests for searches and seizures; (7) assisting in proceedings related to immobilization and forfeiture of assets, restitution, and collection of fines; (8) executing procedures involving experts; and (9) any other form of assistance appropriate under the laws of the Requested State.

I recommend that the Senate give early and favorable consideration to the Treaty and give its advice and consent to ratification.


                                   THE WHITE HOUSE,
                                   March 27, 1998.

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