Tobacco giant JTI quizzed over shipment to Syrian tycoon 'bankrolling Assad's terror'

Author: Jamie Doward & Lucy Fulford, Observer [UK], Published on: 29 January 2012

A tobacco giant...is under investigation after millions of its cigarettes were shipped to a firm linked to a billionaire accused of playing a key part in suppressing the popular uprising in Syria...Japan Tobacco International (JTI), which owns the Silk Cut, Mayfair and Benson & Hedges brands, faces questions over its relationship with a firm associated with Rami Makhlouf, who is subject to European Union and US sanctions... for providing "funding to the regime allowing violence against demonstrators"...A spokesman for JTI, which is based in Geneva, confirmed that the EU's anti-fraud watchdog was reviewing the Syria shipment as part of an investigation into the company's distribution network. "We're co-operating with them," the spokesman said of the EU watchdog. He said SDF had never been subject to trading restrictions and that JTI suspended shipments upon learning Makhlouf was a shareholder.[refers to IBCS Trading, Syria Duty Free Shops]

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Related companies: Japan Tobacco International