Picture: 123RF/GIN SANDERS
Picture: 123RF/GIN SANDERS

UK authorities have opted not to prosecute tobacco giant British American Tobacco (BAT) after a more than three-year corruption probe.

The UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) said on Friday that after an extensive investigation and comprehensive review of available evidence, it had determined the case did not meet the evidential test for prosecution.

The SFO had launched a probe into the company in August 2017, with BAT saying at the time it would co-operate with the investigation.

In 2015 a BBC programme described cases of BAT employees bribing officials in East African countries, including Rwanda and Burundi, in an effort to undermine antismoking laws.

BAT said on Friday it was “pleased that the SFO has closed its investigation and that the SFO is taking no further action in respect of this matter.”

“BAT remains committed to the highest standards in the conduct of its business,” the statement read.

In morning trade on Friday BAT’s share was little changed at R571.72 having fallen 12.3% over the past 12 months.

With Reuters

gernetzkyk@busineslive.co.za

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