Serious Fraud Office Investigates BAT

UK tobacco giant British American Tobacco (BAT) has confirmed that it is under investigation following allegations of paid bribes in East Africa from the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

The allegations, which were first made on BBC Panorama in 2015, were under investigation via external legal advisers from BAT themselves and the tobacco firm stresses that they’re cooperating with SFO.

BAT employee Paul Hopkins, who worked in Kenya for 13 years, had been told paying bribes was the cost of doing business in Africa, and he went on to make payments that were aiming to influence laws surrounding tobacco-use in the region.

Panorama alleges that BAT had paid politicians and civil servants illegally in Africa. The BBC discovered documents indicating that a variety of officials, MPs and more had been paid off.

“The truth is that we do not and will not tolerate corruption, no matter where it takes place,” BAT told Panorama at the time.

BAT has since released a statement about the SFO’s investigation: “As previously announced, we are investigating, through external legal advisers, allegations of misconduct.

“We have been co-operating with the Serious Fraud Office (“SFO”) and British American Tobacco (“BAT”) has been informed that the SFO has now opened a formal investigation. BAT intends to co-operate with that investigation.”

BAT recently caused controversy after they acquired Reynolds, making them the largest Tobacco company in the world.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *