Belgium, Finland Join Tobacco Suit
BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) - Belgium and Finland on Wednesday became the latest European Union nations to join a civil action launched by the EU's head office alleging U.S. tobacco giants Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds are involved in cigarette smuggling.
The European Commission announced Nov. 6 it had filed a suit in New York against to two companies claiming breaches of the U.S. Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act.
It is seeking an unspecified amount of money it says was lost because of unpaid customs duties and value added tax, and an injunction to prevent further smuggling.
Several EU nations have joined the suit, including Germany, Italy and France.
The companies deny the accusations and Philip Morris in December launched its own action at the Luxembourg-based European Court of First Instance, challenging the Commission's authority to initiate the lawsuit.