News Release13 September 2021
BAT emphatically rejects mischaracterisation of anti-illicit trade activities
- BAT emphatically rejects the mischaracterisation of its anti-illicit trade activity by the BBC and The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ).
- Allegations of this nature are not new and have been covered extensively in various news media over several years.
- BAT fully cooperated with a UK SFO investigation, and in January 2021 the SFO announced that, “following extensive investigation and a comprehensive review of the available evidence”, it had closed its investigation into BAT, its subsidiaries and associated persons, without charge.
- The criminal illicit cigarette trade has a significant detrimental effect on society and should be the focus of collective effort and attention by all stakeholders.
We emphatically reject the mischaracterisation of our conduct by some media outlets.
Acting responsibly and with integrity underpins the foundations of our culture and values as a company. BAT is committed to the highest standards of corporate conduct and transparency wherever we operate.
BAT has long been committed to fighting the global criminal trade in illicit tobacco. As part of those efforts, BAT has sought to assist national law enforcement agencies in providing support and, in the past, intelligence on suspected illicit operators.
These efforts in combating illicit trade have been aimed at helping law enforcement agencies in the fight against the criminal trade in tobacco products with the aim of countering the seriously detrimental effects that illicit trade has on society.
The allegations being made regarding BAT’s anti-illicit trade activities have been covered extensively in various news media over several years.
In 2016 BAT made public that it was investigating allegations of misconduct and was liaising with the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO). BAT fully co-operated with the SFO’s subsequent investigation.
In January 2021 the SFO announced that, ‘following extensive investigation and a comprehensive review of the available evidence’, it had closed its investigation into BAT, its subsidiaries and associated persons, without charge.