British American Tobacco Plc to pay more than $635 Million in North Korea sanctions case

According to a U.S. court document and a company statement on Tuesday, British American Tobacco Plc agreed to pay more than $635 million to American authorities after a subsidiary admitted to charges that it conspired to break bank fraud laws and violate U.S. sanctions by selling tobacco products to North Korea.

According to the corporation and the Justice Department, cigarette sales to the isolated Communist country at the centre of the settlement announced on Tuesday occurred between 2007 and 2017. Various U.S. sanctions are against North Korea to prevent funding for its nuclear and ballistic missile program.

Dunhill and Lucky Strike cigarettes are produced by BAT (LON:BATS), the second-largest tobacco company in the world.

According to the group’s annual report for 2019, it has operations in several countries subject to different sanctions, including Iran and Cuba, and those operations expose the company to the potential of “significant financial costs.”

British American Tobacco (NYSE:BTI) said in a statement that the company and the Justice Department had reached a deferred prosecution deal, and one of its indirect companies in Singapore had admitted guilt.

It also reached a civil settlement with the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the U.S. Treasury Department. The total amount made to U.S. authorities for the three cases is $635.2 million.

In a statement, the company’s CEO Jack Bowles stated, “We deeply regret the misconduct arising from historical business activities that led to these settlements, and acknowledge that we fell short of the highest standards rightly expected of us.”

The Justice Department claimed in a court filing that the business also planned to deceive financial institutions to induce them to handle transactions on behalf of North Korean organisations.

Kim Jong Un, the leader of North Korea, is a well-known chain smoker who is frequently captured holding a cigarette in official images. In May of last year, Russia and China blocked a U.S. request to the UN Security Council to forbid the export of tobacco and synthetic tobacco to North Korea.