Prosecutors handling financial fraud cases have long known that a foreign bank supplied with a compelled authorization form, will sometimes release confidential bank records. The prosecutors first seek a judicial direction requiring the bank signatory of the foreign bank account to execute the authorization form.
After the bank signatory executes this form, the prosecutors send it to the foreign bank witness, who might then release the requested bank records. These forms can sometimes be used successfully as a countermeasure to bank secrecy or blocking laws in foreign jurisdictions.
Furthermore, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the use of compelled authorization forms, as early as its decision in Doe v. U.S., 487 U.S. 201, 108 S. Ct. 2341, 101 L. Ed. 2d 184 (1988) (Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination not violated by compelled authorization form).
Compelled authorization forms meanwhile, can be used in a variety of cases in which assets are hidden. Below is a basic example of such a form, (sanitized and changed for privacy reasons), from one particular divorce proceeding:
Copyright 2012 Fred L. Abrams