BBC Unveils Bribery at BAT

A BBC investigation has uncovered evidence of bribery at British American Tobacco (BAT).


The BBC news show Panorama found BAT illegally paid politicians and civil servants in countries in East Africa.

The payments were revealed when a whistleblower shared hundreds of secret documents.

BAT denied the charges.

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

Paul Hopkins, who worked for BAT, a British company, in Kenya for 13 years, said he had begun paying bribes after being told it was the cost of doing business in Africa.

“BAT is bribing people, and I’m facilitating it,” he said.

“The reality is if… they have to break the rules, they will break the rules.”

Emails show how Hopkins reveal BAT made illegal payments to two members and one former member of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), a United Nations campaign supported by 180 countries, aimed at reducing deaths from tobacco-related illness.

Dr Vera Da Costa e Silva, from the WHO, said BAT “is irresponsible to say the least”.

“It is using bribery to profit at the cost of people’s lives, simple as that,” she said.

“BAT should be investigated by the government and should be punished accordingly.”

The secret documents also show the company paid bribes to undermine anti-smoking legislation.

BAT told the BBC that any company could fall victim to an employee acting inappropriately.

“We are rightly proud that any alleged breach of our very high expectations of transparency and honesty is swiftly investigated,” BAT said in a statement. “Any proven transgression will lead to appropriate disciplinary action. Our accusers in this program left us in acrimonious circumstances and have a vendetta against us, clearly demonstrated by the false picture they present of how we do business.”

Shortly before he left the company, Hopkins secretly recorded a discussion with a BAT lawyer about making final payments to his informants.

Copyright © Corporate Crime Reporter
In Print 48 Weeks A Year

Built on Notes Blog Core
Powered by WordPress