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BAT corruption, bribery probe is dropped by UK prosecutors

‘Evidence in this case did not meet the evidential test for prosecution.”
Image: Bloomberg

A three-year-old bribery probe into British American Tobacco Plc was dropped by U.K. prosecutors who said they were unable to find sufficient evidence of corruption.

The U.K. Serious Fraud Office said it closed the case because the evidence “did not meet the evidential test for prosecution.”

A formal probe that started in August 2017 looked into reports that the maker of Dunhill and Lucky Strike cigarettes had bribed African government officials to influence tobacco legislation. A BBC report a couple of years earlier said BAT had a lobbyist arrange bribes totaling $26,000 for three public officials in Rwanda, Burundi and the Comoros Islands in 2015.

BAT said in a separate statement on Friday that it was pleased the probe was dropped and that the company “remains committed to the highest standards in the conduct of its business.”

The SFO said it worked with Kenyan officials on the case and would cooperate with other law enforcement agencies that are still conducting investigations.

© 2021 Bloomberg

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