Canada tobacco firms admit aiding smuggling..

July 31, 2008 - Two Canadian tobacco firms (Imperial Tobacco Canada Ltd -- a unit of British American Tobacco and Rothmans Benson & Hedges Inc, a unit of Philip Morris and Rothmans Inc) admitted on Thursday (7/31/2008) they had aided the contraband tobacco trade and will pay out more than C$1 billion ($980 million) in record fines and payments to boost anti-smuggling efforts over the next 15 years. The charges relate to the years between 1989 and 1994, when tobacco taxes in Eastern Canadian provinces were so high that they prompted widespread smuggling. Tobacco exported from Canada to the United States was then illegally brought back into the country.

Both tobacco companies admitted in court to a single charge of "aiding persons to sell and be in possession of tobacco manufactured in Canada that was not packed and was not stamped in conformity with the Excise Act and its amendments and ministerial regulations."

Reference: Canada tobacco firms admit aiding smuggling by David Ljunggren, Reuters-Canada, 7/31/2008.