People have died from tobacco-related diseases since the opening of the first FCTC working group on 28 October 1999.
A group of investigative journalists is reporting that Japan Tobacco International (JTI) was implicated in smuggling carried out by its distributors in a dozen countries.
According to the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, "Mobsters were doing business with the firm's Russian distributorship while shipping tons of illegal cigarettes into Europe. Workers felt endangered. Accused smugglers and criminals ran some of its Middle East partnerships."
The report says when the allegations surfaced in 2009 and 2010, company management tried to block investigations by JTI's anti-smuggling team.
"JTI retaliated last year by hacking into the team’s computers, firing its leaders, and phasing out nearly a dozen contractors who knew about the smuggling, according to former employees."
According to a report by Reuters news agency, a JTI spokesman said Friday, "These matters have all been properly addressed and handled within JTI in line with our overall stance toward anti-illicit trade and my understanding is that it has been all solved or addressed."