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Business

EU, Philip Morris to Settle Smuggling Controversy

Tobacco giant Philip Morris and the European Commission appear ready to set aside their difference over alleged cigarette smuggling. The company is apparently willing to pay about €1 billion ($1.2 billion) over 12 years and cooperate in counter-smuggling efforts. In return, the EU would drop any plans to file a lawsuit against Philip Morris in the matter. In January, a U.S. court had rejected a tax evasion complaint filed by the EU commission, but had left the door open for charges of money laundering at the same time. The EU has previously followed that strategy with Morris' competitor Reynolds Tobacco. EU officials have charged tobacco companies with aiding smugglers to avoid taxes and tariffs in the past. EU countries lose approximately €1 billion because of smuggling per year. To finalize the deal with Philip Morris, all sides, including EU member states that participated in the lawsuits, still have to approve it. Germany, Austria, Sweden, Denmark, Britain and Ireland are not among those states.

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