In what is considered the largest single sanction imposed by US authorities related to the ban on business with North Korea, the multinational tobacco company British American Tobacco agreed to pay a million-dollar fine.
Selling tobacco to North Korea for a decade earned the world’s second-biggest tobacco company a fine of more than $635 million in the United States, in light of sanctions against that country.
British American Tobacco confirmed that it entered into an agreement with the Justice Department, while one of its indirect Singapore subsidiaries, BAT Marketing Singapore, pleaded guilty to conspiring to ship tobacco to the peninsula between 2007 and 2017.
The Department of Justice explained in a statement that, at the time, the tobacco giant delegated its sales to North Korea to BAT Marketing Singapore, and even issued a press release in which it stated that it stopped selling tobacco to the Asian country. .
However, the British multinational continued to market its products in North Korea through that intermediary, resulting in 418 million dollars in cash and bank transactions from North Korea to the subsidiary.
This is a sanction that the US authorities classify as exemplary for other companies: “This case and others like it serve as a warning shot for companies,” said Matthew Olsen, deputy attorney general of the Security Division, at a press conference. US national authority.
In a court filing, the Justice Department said the maker of cigarette brands including Lucky Strike and Newport also conspired to defraud financial institutions into processing transactions on behalf of North Korean entities.
The federal investigation led to the uncovering of a cigarette trafficking scheme that raised money for North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. For these events, the Department of Justice announced charges against three people: a North Korean banker and two Chinese facilitators, for whom a reward is being offered.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is known as a chain smoker, frequently seen with a cigarette in hand in photographs in state media.
Russia and China vetoed a US push for a United Nations Security Council ban on tobacco and cigarette exports to North Korea in May last year.
The fine that the British firm agreed to pay is only a fraction of the more than £27 billion in revenue it generated in 2022.
With Reuters, AP and EFE
#Economy #British #American #Tobacco #accepts #sanction #USD #million #selling #cigarettes #North #Korea