APRIL 17, 2002
BAT attacked for destroying documents
The attack which followed at the BAT annual general meeting was led by a well-known anti-smoking campaigner but BAT boss Martin Broughton counter-attacked saying that when the documents were destroyed there was no litigation in process or even pending and that the paperwork was at least 17 years old. He added that it was "difficult to see on what basis the ruling was made".
BAT currently has a policy of holding on all documents relating to legal matters. Broughon also said that the Australian case did not set a legal precedent and that the ruling was, in any case, being appealed by BAT lawyers.
The case highlights the constant pressure that exists on all the tobacco companies - which is a feature of the current battles in Europe over tobacco advertising. The FIA is trying to establish a global agreement that will see all tobacco advertising in motor racing stopped at the end of 2006 - and not before.