Does RICO, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, apply outside the United States?
The European Community sued RJR Nabisco, a cigarette manufacturer, under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (“RICO”) Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1961 et seq. RICO imposes civil and criminal penalties on racketeering activity. The European Community alleges that RJR Nabisco ran an international money laundering operation, which occurred abroad. This case presents the Supreme Court with the opportunity to determine the jurisdictional limits of RICO. RJR Nabisco maintains that RICO should not apply extraterritorially. The European Community counters that Congress clearly indicated that RICO’s reach could extend extraterritorially when the underlying offense is extraterritorial. The Court’s resolution of this case may alter the jurisdictional status of RICO and will affect business interests on both sides of the Atlantic.
Questions as Framed for the Court by the Parties
Whether, or to what extent, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”) applies extraterritorially.
- Alison Frankel, In RJR Case, Supreme Court to Decide if RICO Reaches Abroad, Reuters (Oct. 1, 2015)