Mrs Thatcher and Ken Clarke who worked for vast international smuggling and money laundering operations
The next programme about Balkans cigarette smuggling by renowned journalist Misha Glenny will be on BBC 4 tonight:Sunday 03 August 2008 17:00 when he charts the explosion and growth of international crime in our globalised world. 2/2: He investigates cigarette smuggling, from the Balkans through Italy to Brussels.
It is worth while remembering that when Mrs Margaret "The NHS is safe in our hands" Thatcher was "retired" the first employment she took up to complement her meagre Prime Ministerial pension was with Philip Morris. (PM)
They have operated as PMInternationl (PMI) based in Lausanne , Switzerland from March 28th, 2008. Their website's latest news is the Can$2 BN purchase of Rothmans Inc (who owned the 60% of Rothmans, Benson & Hedges Inc. (RBH) which PMI did not own)subsequent to Rothmans' and RBH's finalization of the Can$550 million fines for tobacco smuggling. Canadian Tobacco Companies admit massive smuggling activities - huge fines totalling C$1.15 Bn to pay
Documents relating to the Iron Lady's contract (she was a heavy smoker) surfaced and are available here - Memo from Michael Miles about Margaret Thatcher's consulting arrangement with Philip Morris
This is a memo marked confidential ,dated July 20th 1992 which contains these revealing details ...
Our first contact with Mrs. Thatcher occurred last June when she agreed to be a guest speaker at a biennial conference of all the Company's lawyers. She subsequently came to New York and had dinner with a number of members of senior management. As a result of that discussion, all of us at the dinner concluded that, because of Mrs. Thatcher's extensive expertise and knowledge about geopolitical issues in many countries in which we currently do business or hope to do business, it would be sensible to consider a consulting arrangement with her....
...It is contemplated that Mrs. Thatcher would be available to consult with us for an initial three-year period, and that the fee we would pay for those services would consist on a $250,000 annual payment to her, and a $250,000 annual contribution to the Margaret Thatcher Foundation. The Foundation is in the early states of formation and it will focus on providing support to entrepreneurial enterprises in countries formerly controlled by the Soviet Union, in China, and in certain Third World countries...
During the course of these discussions, we have developed an even closer relationship with Mrs. Thatcher. She appeared as a guest speaker at the Philip Morris Worldwide Conference in Floria last March, and she has met on several occasions with some of our senior executives on an ad hoc basis concerning problems we face in the Common Market...Based upon our experience to date, we believe that her consulting services will be quite valuable...
Her colleague Ken Clarke MP, always keen to scoop up the hefty UK sales taxes on tobacco as Chancellor of the Exchequer became Deputy Chairman of British American Tobacco (BAT) for 9 years from 1998 until 2007.
BAT have been dogged with claims of assisting smuggling tobacco, all of which have been denied. He has told the House of Commons health committee that BAT "is a company of integrity. It is an extremely good corporate citizen." Claims that it was organising smuggling, he stated, were "quite unfounded ... We do not, and we would not, and we would stop any of our employees doing it." He later admitted that he did not "have any detailed knowledge of the day-to-day activities" of the Geneva office.
Members of International Consortium of Investigative Journalists had unearthed details of a scheme which they revealed in 2001 but related to a period before his arrival. Letters provided details of an elaborate scheme involving the sun kissed Caribbean island of Aruba acting as a staging post for smuggling into Venezuela and Colombia. Healthy profits from this operation were up to 1997 collected by a BAT branch based in Surrey. Subsequently they ended up with a subsidiary based in Geneva - the office about which our Ken did not "have any detailed knowledge of the day-to-day activities". When he arrived at BAT this happy arrangement involved 8 billion BAT cigarettes a year and an annual harvest of some US $200m for the Geneva operation.
For more details of international tobacco smuggling see the Centre for Public Integrity - for example "A 240-page internal report on international cigarette smuggling compiled in 1997 by Italy's tax and customs police, the Guardia di Finanza" ... "At least 50 containers a month, primarily Marlboros (Philip Morris's leading brand) , would be sent to warehouses in Montenegrin ports of Zelenika, Bar, and Katar. The cigarette cases would then be transferred to speed boats and shipped at night across the Adriatic to Italy's Puglia region, about 100 miles away. "
The House of Commons Select Committee on Health 2nd Report which examined the Tobacco Industry examined the international smuggling of cigarettes. Those interested in the activities of BAT and their explanation should start in Hansard here.
"Relating to terminology , Mr Broughton (BAT employee) denied that terms such as 'DNP', 'general trade', or 'transit' were "specifically euphemisms for 'smuggled'. That is not to say that there are not times where DNP would be the same as smuggled in one market".381] Mr Broughton said that to look at individual documents, or to quote small parts of individual documents was to risk taking them out of context.382] Mr Clarke went further: he told the Committee that "any case which depends on taking sentences out of eight million pages ... is absurd".383]