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

By 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.

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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.