Saudi Press

Saudi Arabia and the world
Wednesday, Feb 28, 2024

Tobacco giant to pay $635m for North Korea sanctions breach

Tobacco giant to pay $635m for North Korea sanctions breach

British American Tobacco is to pay $635m (£512m) plus interest to US authorities after a subsidiary admitted selling cigarettes to North Korea in violation of sanctions.
The US authorities said the settlement related to BAT activity in North Korea between 2007 and 2017.

BAT's head Jack Bowles said "we deeply regret the misconduct".

The US has imposed severe sanctions on North Korea over its nuclear and ballistic missile activities.

Tuesday's settlement was between BAT and America's Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control.

BAT is one of the world's largest tobacco multinationals and one of the UK's 10 biggest companies. It owns major cigarette brands including Lucky Strike, Dunhill and Pall Mall.

In a statement, BAT said it had entered into a "deferred prosecution agreement with DOJ and a civil settlement agreement with OFAC, and an indirect BAT subsidiary in Singapore has entered into a plea agreement with DOJ".

The DOJ said BAT had also conspired to defraud financial institutions in order to get them to process transactions on behalf of North Korean entities.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is known to be a heavy smoker. Last year the US attempted to get the UN Security Council to ban tobacco exports to North Korea, but this was vetoed by Russia and China.

At a briefing on Tuesday, the DOJ's assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen said the settlement was the "culmination of a long-running investigation", describing it as "the single largest North Korean sanctions penalty in the history of the Department of Justice".

He said that BAT was engaged in an "elaborate scheme to circumvent US sanctions and sell tobacco products to North Korea" via subsidiaries.

"Between 2007 and 2017 these third-party companies sold tobacco products to North Korea and received approximately $428m."

Criminal charges were also revealed against North Korean banker Sim Hyon-Sop, 39, and Chinese facilitators Qin Guoming, 60, and Han Linlin, 41, for facilitating sales of tobacco to North Korea.

A $5m (£4.4m) bounty was put for any information leading to the arrest or conviction of Sim, and $500,000 (£402,905) rewards for each of the other two suspects.

They were accused of buying leaf tobacco for North Korean state-owned cigarette makers and falsifying documents to trick US banks into processing transactions worth $74m. North Korean manufacturers including one owned by the military made about $700m thanks to these deals.

Pyongyang has for years faced multiple rounds of tough sanctions in response to its ballistic missile launches and nuclear tests.

However that has not deterred Mr Kim from continuing to develop the country's weapons program.
Newsletter

Related Articles

Saudi Press
0:00
0:00
Close
Apple warns against drying iPhones with rice
China Criticizes US for Vetoing UN Ceasefire Resolution in Gaza
In a recent High Court hearing, the U.S. argued that Julian Assange endangered lives by releasing classified information.
The U.S. vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for a temporary ceasefire in Gaza, instead proposing its own six-week ceasefire plan contingent upon the release of all hostages held by Hamas
Prince William Urges End to Gaza Conflict
Saudi Arabia ranks first in UN index for e-government services in MENA
Israel has gone ‘beyond self-defence’ in Gaza, says Labour’s Streeting
EU Calls for Immediate Ceasefire in Gaza Conflict
Israel Records 20% Drop In GDP, War In Gaza Is The Reason
Saudi Arabia's FDI Inflows Grow with New International Standards
Venture Capitals Power Up Across MENA Region
Saudi Arabia Introduces Terms for 30-Year Income Tax Exemption for Multinational Companies
Saudi FM: Establishing Palestinian state is only pathway for Mideast stability
Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has died at the Arctic prison colony
Elon Musk's Starlink Gets License For Israel, Parts Of Gaza
Influencers Exploit X Platform for Profit Amidst Israel-Gaza Conflict
PM Modi Announces Opening Of New CBSE Office In Dubai
International Criminal Court's Chief "Deeply Concerned" By Rafah Bombing
January Funding for MENA Startups Totals $86.5 Million
Saudi Arabia accelerates digital economy growth through Nvidia partnership
Indian female military officers commend Saudi Arabia's progress and women's empowerment
Israel unveils tunnels underneath Gaza City headquarters of UN agency for Palestinian refugees
Israel deploys new military AI in Gaza war
Egypt threatens to suspend key peace treaty if Israel pushes into Gaza border town, officials say
Israel Utilizes AI Military Technology in Gaza Conflict
Saudi Arabia Warns Of A "Humanitarian Catastrophe" If Israel Moves On Rafah
China Warns Iran to Halt Houthi Attacks or Damage Trade Ties
US University To Shut Qatar Campus Due To "Heightened Mideast Instability"
Iran-backed hackers interrupt UAE TV streaming services with deepfake news
Facebook and Instagram Ban Iran's Supreme Leader
Finnish Airline, Finnair, is voluntarily weighing passengers to better estimate flight cargo weight
U.S. Secretary of State Blinken: The Israelis underwent dehumanization on 7.10, this does not give them the right to do this to others.
Defense Technology Showcase Held in Riyadh
Saudi Arabia’s non-oil exports rise 2.5% to $6bn in November 2023: GASTAT
UK Bans Misleading "Zero Emissions" Claims for Electric Cars
Gaza's Teen Inventor Sparks Light in Displacement
Netanyahu Rejects Ceasefire Proposal, Insists On Total Victory Over Hamas
Guterres appoints independent UNRWA review panel
Private Sector Employment Hits Record High with Over 11 Million Employees in January
Rolls-Royce Executive Encourages Saudi Women to Tap into Their Inner 'Superhero' for Success in Defense Industry
Saudi Arabia launches National Academy of Vehicles and Cars
Saudi Tourism Minister Reveals Plan for 250,000 New Hotel Rooms by 2030
SAR to more than double eastern network passenger capacity with new trains deal
Saudi Arabia Enhances National Defense with New Partnerships
Saudi Aramco Maintains Arab Light Crude Pricing to Asia for March
NEOM Establishes New York Office to Support Investors
Saudi Wealth Fund Draws in Over $25 Billion Worth of Investments in Three Years, Al-Rumayyan Reveals
ZATCA Cautions Against Scammer Schemes
INTRA Defense Technologies inaugurates drone factory in Riyadh
Saudi Arabia's Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources, Bandar Alkhorayef, has announced a partnership with the London Metal Exchange to set up metal storage and delivery centers in the country. Alkhorayef highlighted Saudi Arabia's expanding military industries sector, crediting the Public Investment Fund (PIF) as a key partner, during his speech at the second PIF Private Sector Forum in Riyadh
×