BAT cleared of tax-evasion charges

    A South Korean court has acquitted British American Tobacco (BAT) from charges of tax evasion, citing lack of evidence, reports Yonhap News Agency.

    In April, prosecutors indicted BAT Korea and two senior executives on charges of evading KRW50 billion ($43 million) in taxes by falsely reporting a cigarette shipment on Dec. 31, 2014, one day before a cigarette tax hike went into effect.

    Prosecutors accused the cigarette company of earning an illegal profit of KRW50 billion by selling the 24.63 million packs taxed at a pre-hike rate to consumers at post-hike prices.

    But the Seoul court said it was unable to conclude from the evidence submitted by the prosecution that BAT intentionally committed the false shipment report.

    “In addition, any motivation for tax evasion has not been found and it seemed that company employees didn’t perceive the concerned shipment report via computers as an illegal act,” the court said.