Nov 4 A network of investigative journalists in
Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union has said it has
uncovered evidence of widespread cigarette smuggling by
distributors of Japan Tobacco International (JTI), an arm of
Japan Tobacco .
The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project said it
used access to internal company records, e-mails and interviews
with former employees to uncover cigarette smuggling by
distributors for the company in a dozen countries in the region.
Several members of JTI's own investigating team were fired
after they uncovered the cases of smuggling, the OCCRP said in a
A spokesman for Japan Tobacco said the issue had been
"These matters have all been properly addressed and handled
within JTI in line with our overall stance towards anti-illicit
trade and my understanding is that it has been all solved or
addressed already as far as JTI is concerned," said Hideyuki
Yamamoto, a spokesman for Japan Tobacco, in Tokyo.
He said the information contained in the OCCRP report had
been circulated for the past two years or so by people believed
to have been fired by JTI.
The OCCRP report said JTI officials at its headquarters in
Geneva declined to answer specific questions, but said a former
employee was spreading false information.
(Additional reporting by James Topham in TOKYO; Editing by Raju
Gopalakrishnan and Ed Lane)