federal judge in Brooklyn yesterday dismissed an unusual lawsuit by European countries against American tobacco companies that had asserted that the companies used fraud and money laundering to smuggle American cigarettes into their countries.
The filing of the case in federal court more than a year ago drew international attention because of accusations by the European Community that its members lose billions of dollars in tax revenues because American cigarette makers use narcotics traffickers and money launderers to help transport and sell contraband cigarettes.
The companies that were sued, Philip Morris and R. J. Reynolds Tobacco, denied those assertions in the racketeering suit.
In his ruling yesterday, the judge, Nicholas G. Garaufis of United States District Court, did not make any findings on the smuggling contentions. Instead, he dismissed the suits, citing a rule with roots in the 18th century that says courts of one country will not enforce tax claims of another country.
That rule, which judges refer to as the revenue rule, was the basis for a similar ruling by the federal appeals court in New York last year that dismissed a similar suit by Canada.
France, Germany, Italy and Spain were among the European countries that had joined in the suit dismissed yesterday. In addition yesterday, Judge Garaufis dismissed a similar case filed by Colombia.
Spokesmen and lawyers for the European Community did not respond to requests for comment on whether they planned an appeal.
In a statement yesterday, Philip Morris said it had always been interested in helping governments fight the contraband cigarette trade. But it added that the company applauded Judge Garaufis’s ruling.
European parliament approves tough rules on electronic cigarettes
Feb 26 2014 European Parliament Approves Tough Rules on Electronic Cigarettes Posted by in Smokeless Cigarettes South Africa Smokeless Cigarettes South Africa
PARIS The European Parliament on Wednesday approved rules for the region s fast growing market for electronic cigarettes, regulations that could help set a benchmark for standards around the world. Beginning in mid 2016, advertising for e …
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