FEBRUARY 13, 2001
FOR some time the management of British American Tobacco has been under investigation for an involvement in international cigarette smuggling in Asia and Latin America. Several of the top names in the company - including some of those who represent BAT on the board of British American Racing - have been linked to the allegations but to date there have been no formal charges against the company.
However, the claims are beginning to cause problems for BAT with Peter Hess, a member of the board of directors of British American Tobacco International, the Swiss subsidiary of BAT, resigning as a result of the allegations. Hess is the speaker of the Swiss parliament and has been criticized in the local media for his links with the world's second largest tobacco company and decided to quit to ensure that no such criticism could be levelled at him.
It remains to be seen if the smuggling claims will result in any changes at BAT but there could be a serious effect if those who support the current F1 program disappear.
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