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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Nw: Smoke Show Podcast: BAT, bribes and spies within the tobacco business

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The South African tobacco business has had its piece of considerations over time, but they’re nothing compared with what’s now occurring. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, primarily based entirely within the UK, has had a team attempting into process within the local business for the final 18 months. They’ve reach up with a sequence, known as Smoke Show – which is on hand as a podcast. Eavesdrop on a snippet from the podcast, followed by Alec Hogg discussing the tobacco business (and podcast) with James Ball. – Jarryd Neves

James Ball on how The Bureau of Investigative Journalism bought fascinated with this:

We’ve bought a tobacco reporting team who’ve been attempting spherical all forms of points all the device in which by the companies, things like JUUL and the US scandal spherical there, diversified things. Any time we had been talking to of us in this predicament, they kept announcing, “indulge in you ever heard about this South African narrative? Discover you heard about BAT?” No person used to be announcing the identical factor when they had been telling us about it – and it factual turned carry out of too keen no longer to dig into.

We began attempting into it a pair of yr within the past, thinking we could doubtless moreover doubtless end something rather self-contained. There [were] rather public whistleblowers and figures. [But] it used to be factual one among these [investigations] the set you start pulling on a thread and before you are privy to it, you’ve bought miles and miles of narrative.

On what piqued the Bureau’s hobby within the narrative:

The South Africa aspect of this narrative is sensational. There’s double agents and likewise you name it. There’s moreover this community of informants and funds being made – but it doesn’t end factual in South Africa. It clearly moves into neighbouring countries and diversified countries all the device in which by the continent, in actual fact. Nonetheless what used to be moreover attention-grabbing to us, used to be [that] this wasn’t the case of factual one particular person on the bottom and even half a dozen of them. What intrigued us used to be, is there a paper trail that takes this assist to the global headquarters in London?

As we’re uncovering within the podcast, there in actual fact appears to be like to be of us who had been rather senior in BAT [who] knew about a few of the crucial tactics being deployed by their agents on the bottom. They had been authorising the funds. They had been in general finding ways to ship the money that had been rather questionable. Quite lots of the narrative takes blueprint in South Africa – and it’s absolutely more [of] a South African narrative than the relaxation – but it undoubtedly does indulge in global implications.

On British American Tobacco’s response:

BAT, it desires to be talked about, bid any wrongdoing. They squawk the truth that within the UK, the Serious Fraud Place of job has regarded into this and determined no longer to continue its investigation – although we would existing that that doesn’t imply the SFO thinks there’s nothing there. It suggests they don’t remark there’s ample evidence to pursue something. They moreover squawk that every these intelligence efforts by recruiting informants within the tobacco business – which will more than in all probability be anything from senior executives and their opponents to somebody who works on the factory ground in packing – [is] about combating smuggling, and that’s piece of them being responsible electorate. The inquire of that’s asked is, how valuable of right here’s undoubtedly about stopping smuggling (which, I feel, most of us would agree is a beautifully reliable waste) and how valuable of it is set stifling or monitoring their competitors?

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