The Supreme Court Defines RICO's Territorial Reach
In its 20 June 2016 ruling in RJR Nabisco Inc. v. European Community, the US Supreme Court settled a long-running debate on the extraterritorial application of the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). The court held that, both civilly and criminally, RICO applies to conduct outside the United States only to the same extent as the statutes that criminalize the underlying acts that form a pattern of racketeering. The court also held that, in a civil RICO action brought by private parties, the statute authorizes recovery only of damages suffered in the United States. By clarifying the extent of RICO’s extraterritorial reach, the decision affirms but also limits the risk that conduct outside the United States will lead to RICO liability.