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Ven.04 septembre 201504/09/2015 Édition de la mi-journée

The smoke and mirrors of the tobacco industry's funding of Interpol

|  Par Mathieu Martinière et Robert Schmidt

The France-based international police cooperation organisation Interpol has since last year become part-funded by the world’s largest cigarette producer, Philip Morris International, in a deal presented as helping to fight black market sales and to ensure traceability of tobacco products. This further example of the intergovernmental police organisation’s controversial new partnerships with the private sector raises a number of concerns, not least over the suspicion that the tobacco industry itself has been feeding criminal networks involved in the trafficking. Mathieu Martinière and Robert Schmidt report.


In June 2012, the international police cooperation organisation Interpol accepted a donation of 15 million euros, to be paid over a three-year period, from US tobacco company Philip Morris International. The funds were to be used in combating black market cigarette trafficking.

One year later, Interpol had adopted Codentify, a product traceability system developed by Philip Morris International, British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco Group and Japan Tobacco International.

The tobacco companies are currently lobbying the European Union to also adopt this marking system, placed on each packet of cigarettes, which allows for the identification of genuine or counterfeit products as they pass through the supply chain from producer to customer. Quite simply, the four big tobacco companies propose a system that places themselves in control of checking the authenticity of products bearing ...

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