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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
January 23, 2008
Message to the Senate of the United States
TO THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES:
With a view to receiving the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification, I transmit herewith the Extradition Treaty between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Republic of Bulgaria (the "Extradition Treaty" or the "Treaty") and the Agreement on Certain Aspects of Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Republic of Bulgaria (the "MLA Agreement"), both signed at Sofia on September 19, 2007. I also transmit, for the information of the Senate, the report of the Department of State with respect to the Extradition Treaty and the MLA Agreement.
The new Extradition Treaty would replace the outdated Extradition Treaty between the United States and Bulgaria, signed in Sofia on March 19, 1924, and the Supplementary Extradition Treaty, signed in Washington on June 8, 1934. The MLA Agreement is the first agreement between the two countries on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters. Both the Extradition Treaty and the MLA Agreement fulfill the requirements for bilateral instruments (between the United States and each European Union (EU) Member State) that are contained in the Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance Agreements between the United States and the EU currently before the Senate.
The Extradition Treaty follows generally the form and content of other extradition treaties recently concluded by the United States. It would replace an outmoded list of extraditable offenses with a modern "dual criminality" approach, which would enable extradition for such offenses as money laundering, and other newer offenses not appearing on the list. The Treaty also contains a modernized "political offense" clause, and it provides that extradition shall not be refused based on the nationality of a person sought for any of a comprehensive list of serious offenses. Finally, the new Treaty incorporates a series of procedural improvements to streamline and speed the extradition process.
Because the United States and Bulgaria do not have a bilateral mutual legal assistance treaty in force between them, the MLA Agreement is a partial treaty governing only those issues regulated by the U.S. EU Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement, specifically: identification of bank information, joint investigative teams, video conferencing, expedited transmission of requests, assistance to administrative authorities, use limitations, confidentiality, and grounds for refusal. This approach is consistent with that taken with the other EU Member States (Denmark, Finland, Malta, Portugal, Slovak Republic, and Slovenia) with which the United States did not have an existing mutual legal assistance treaty.
I recommend that the Senate give early and favorable consideration to the Extradition Treaty and MLA Agreement, along with the U.S. EU Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance Agreements and the other related bilateral instruments between the United States and European Union Member States.
GEORGE W. BUSH
THE WHITE HOUSE,
January 22, 2008.
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