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Week in Review/ TOP STORIES -- OCT. 27-NOV. 1

EU Accuses RJR of Black-Market Sales

November 03, 2002|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

The European Union accused R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Holdings Inc. in a lawsuit of selling black-market cigarettes to drug traffickers and mobsters, helping them to launder profits from their illegal activities.

The 149-page complaint filed in New York describes in detail Reynolds' allegedly corrupt business dealings in Europe and Latin America, including with members of the Italian Mafia and Russian organized crime, Colombian drug cartels and government officials in the Balkans.

RJR executives "at the highest corporate level" made it "part of their operating business plan to sell cigarettes to and through criminal organizations and to accept criminal proceeds in payments for cigarettes by secret and surreptitious means," the suit alleges.

RJR called the lawsuit "absurd."

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