The U.K. Serious Fraud Office (SFO) on Friday announced it has concluded without prosecution its investigation into British American Tobacco (BAT) regarding whistleblower allegations of corruption in the conduct of business.
The SFO launched its probe in August 2017, focusing on bribery allegations in East Africa concerning BAT, its subsidiaries, and associated persons. The allegations received a significant platform when former BAT employee Paul Hopkins told the BBC in 2015 that paying bribes was a cost of doing business in Africa to stifle anti-corruption laws in the region.
“BAT is bribing people, and I’m facilitating it,” said Hopkins, who was based in Kenya.
Through its investigation, the SFO deemed evidence in the case “did not meet the evidential test for prosecution as defined in the Code for Crown Prosecutors.” The regulator worked with the Kenyan Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission during the course of the probe.
“BAT is pleased that the SFO has closed its investigation and that the SFO is taking no further action in respect of this matter,” the company said in statement. “BAT remains committed to the highest standards in the conduct of its business.”
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