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Racking Up the Money: A Solution to the Ongoing Battle between Rico and the Revenue Rule

27 Pages Posted: 25 Mar 2014  

Kye Handy

University of Mississippi - School of Law

Date Written: February 3, 2014


The Revenue Rule, a common law rule from British court systems, prevents foreign countries from bringing claims in the United States to enforce or adjudicate tax claims that did not happen in the United States. The Supreme Court in Pasquantino v. United States held that Canada’s right to collect imported liquor taxes was not barred by the Revenue Rule. However, the 2nd Circuit in European Community v. RJR Nabisco Inc., ruled the European Union and Colombia could not recover lost tax money or enforcement costs from cigarette smuggling under RICO because of the Revenue Rule. The European Community petitioned the Supreme Court. After accepting the Community’s petition, the Court reversed and remanded the case back to the 2nd Circuit to be reheard in light of Pasquantino. The 2nd Circuit did not change its ruling citing Pasquantino as a criminal case brought by the U.S. government. With no distinction between criminal and civil RICO cases in current jurisdiction, this comment seeks to provide a solution to the split between the Second Circuit and the Supreme Court. This comment argues in favor of limitations being placed on the Revenue Rule so that it can never trump RICO claims in United States courts. In the alternative it argues if limitations cannot be placed upon the Revenue Rule then the only option is abolition. Lastly this comment provides that if limitations and abolition are not the answer, then foreign countries should appeal to the United States government to bring the RICO claims on their behalf.

Keywords: International Law, RICO, Revenue Rule

Suggested Citation

Handy, Kye, Racking Up the Money: A Solution to the Ongoing Battle between Rico and the Revenue Rule (February 3, 2014). Available at SSRN: or

Kye Handy (Contact Author)

University of Mississippi - School of Law ( email )

Lamar Law Center
P.O. Box 1848
University, MS 38677
United States

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