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Leading tobacco firm is accused of bribery

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h6501 (Published 01 December 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h6501
  1. Adrian O’Dowd
  1. 1London

One of the world’s major tobacco companies, British American Tobacco (BAT), has been accused of repeated bribery by the BBC’s Panorama investigative programme. The London based company has, however, strongly rejected the claims, saying that the sources of the programme’s information were unreliable and that, as a firm, it would never tolerate corruption.

In the programme, screened on 30 November, investigators said that they had found evidence that the company had bribed civil servants and senior politicians in various African countries to damage rival companies, corrupt parliaments, and undermine a World Health Organization initiative against smoking.

The programme (www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006t14n) spoke to the whistleblower Paul Hopkins, a former employee who worked for BAT in Kenya for 13 …

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