Smoke Screen Podcast: BAT, kickbacks and spies in the tobacco market

Smoke Screen Podcast: BAT, kickbacks and spies in the tobacco market

The South African tobacco market has actually had its share of issues for many years, however they’re absolutely nothing compared to what’s now taking place. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, based in the UK, has actually had a group checking out activity in the regional market for the last 18 months. They’ve developed a series, called Smoke Screen— which is readily available as a podcast released by Auddy Eavesdrop on a bit from the podcast, followed by Alec Hogg talking about the tobacco market (and podcast) with James Ball.– Jarryd Neves

James Ball on how The Bureau of Investigative Journalism got associated with this:

We’ve got a tobacco reporting group who’ve been browsing all sorts of concerns throughout the business, things like JUUL and the United States scandal around there, [as well as] other things. Whenever we were speaking to individuals in this location, they kept stating, “have you found out about this South African story? Have you found out about BAT?” Nobody was stating the very same thing when they were informing us about it– and it simply ended up being sort of too interesting not to go into.

We began checking out it about a year back, believing we might most likely do something rather self-contained. There [were] rather public whistleblowers and figures. [But] it was simply among those [investigations] where you begin pulling on a thread and prior to you understand it, you’ve got miles and miles of yarn.

On what stimulated the Bureau’s interest in the story:

The South Africa side of this story is mind-blowing. There’s moles and you call it. There’s likewise this network of informants and payments being made– however it does not stop simply in South Africa. It plainly moves into neighbouring nations and other countries throughout the continent, really. What was likewise fascinating to us, was [that] this wasn’t the case of simply one individual on the ground or even half a lots of them. What fascinated us was, exists a proof that takes this back to the international head office in London?

As we’re revealing in the podcast, there really appears to be individuals who were rather senior in BAT [who] understood about a few of the techniques being released by their representatives on the ground. They were authorising the payments. They were typically discovering methods to send out the cash that were rather doubtful. A great deal of the story occurs in South Africa– and it’s definitely more [of] a South African story than anything else– however it truly does have global ramifications.

On British American Tobacco’s reaction:

BAT, it needs to be stated, reject any misdeed. They indicate the truth that in the UK, the Serious Fraud Office has actually checked out this and chose not to continue its examination– although we would keep in mind that does not imply the SFO believes there’s absolutely nothing there. It recommends they do not believe there’s adequate proof to pursue something. They likewise state that these sort of intelligence efforts by hiring informants in the tobacco market– which might be anything from senior executives and their competitors to somebody who deals with the factory flooring in packaging– [is] about avoiding smuggling, which’s part of them being accountable people. The concern that’s asked is, just how much of this is truly about stopping smuggling (which, I believe, many people would concur is a completely genuine end) and just how much of it has to do with suppressing or monitoring their competitors?

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