British American Tobacco: Members of US Congress call for investigation into tobacco giant

Congressmen call for investigation into whether it has violated the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

Congress members have called for for an investigation into whether BAT has violated the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
Congress members have called for for an investigation into whether BAT has violated the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

Members of the US Congress have called for a Department of Justice investigation into tobacco giant British American Tobacco (BAT) following allegations the company bribed officials and politicians in Africa to undermine UN health campaigns and put rival cigarette-makers out of business.

How ‘The IoS’ broke the story about the bribery allegations in December

Eight congressmen – from both the Senate and the House of Representatives – have made a complaint about BAT, Britain’s fifth biggest company, calling for an investigation into whether it has violated the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

The bribery allegations, first revealed by The Independent on Sunday and the BBC, are in a dossier of claims passed to the UK’s Serious Fraud Office by Paul Hopkins, a BAT whistleblower who worked in Africa for BAT for 13 years. Experts described Mr Hopkins as the most significant whistleblower from the industry since Jeffrey Wigand, subject of the Oscar-nominated film The Insider, starring Russell Crowe.

Mr Hopkins, responsible for stopping the illicit tobacco trade in East and Central Africa when BAT made him redundant, said he facilitated payments on BAT’s account to cripple anti-smoking laws in several East African countries, payments to officials to undermine efforts by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to reduce deaths from smoking, ran a corporate spying operation, and conducted “black ops” to put rival cigarette-makers out of business.

Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal said: “The allegations lodged against BAT are an affront to public health and US law. These allegations raise clear questions about whether BAT violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act – a question DoJ [Department of Justice] must answer. With tobacco companies exploiting growth opportunities in Africa, actions like BAT’s threaten to undermine the WHO’s global tobacco treaty and condemn the entire continent to generations of smoking, cancer, and preventable death.”

The DoJ confirmed a complaint had been received. BAT said the company does not “tolerate corruption in our business anywhere in the world” and its policy “is to take all appropriate action” on any allegations.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in