Court Places Limits on DOJ’s Asset Forfeiture Powers


The D.C. Circuit recently handed a significant victory to anyone with assets in the U.S. – especially anyone under investigation in another country for violation of that country’s laws. As reported on the Blog of Legal Times, the D.C. Circuit issued a decision on July 16 holding that the Department of Justice could not seize the assets of two funds pending Brazil’s investigation of the funds’ owners, Daniel and Veronica Dantas.

Brazilian banker Daniel Dantas and his sister, Veronica, are under investigation in Brazil for scheming to defraud the Brazilian financial system, engage in insider trading, and launder the proceeds of their crimes. In 2008, while the investigation was underway, the Government of Brazil formally requested that the U.S. Government seize the funds’ assets located in Connecticut and New York. The DOJ responded by filing applications for restraining orders with the D.C. Circuit. The DOJ requested the restraining orders based on a section of the Patriot Act that authorizes federal district courts to issue restraining orders to “preserve the availability of property subject to a foreign forfeiture or confiscation judgment.” 28 U.S.C. 2467(d)(3).

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