In honor of Halloween, many of us decorate with images of scary jack-o-lanterns, witches, ghosts, and the like.  We expect people to surprise us from around the corner, and to yell “Boo!” when we don’t expect it. Part of the fun of being scared on Halloween is knowing that the fright is only temporary, and that it is not real.

Unlike those temporary and fictional fears, many business owners and employees have learned that the troubles accompanying business failures abroad can be very real and very long-lasting.

As individuals and corporate organizations engage more frequently in international business endeavors, there are naturally more successes as well as more failures in such endeavors.  In many countries, a business deal gone bad ends in a financial loss, a loss of future business opportunities, or perhaps bankruptcy or a civil lawsuit.

In other countries, however, an otherwise civil matter may be treated as a criminal offense.  When a person is charged with a criminal offense related to a failed business transaction, he may find himself the subject of an INTERPOL Red Notice.  While the matter may be improper for a Red Notice, INTERPOL will likely not be alerted to that fact by the country requesting the Red Notice.

In these instances, business people who become the subjects of Red Notices often travel without knowing their Red Notice status, and are detained in INTERPOL member countries while they await extradition, trial, or sentencing.  That’s the bad news.

The good news is that Red Notice subjects can challenge the propriety of the Notices.  When they are improper, INTERPOL will destroy the Notices and the subjects are able to resume their lives as usual- kind of like rising from the dead.

Happy Halloween.