Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has closed its investigation into potential corruption at British American Tobacco (BAT), citing lack of evidence, reports The Daily Mail.
In 2017, the fraud team launched an investigation over allegations that BAT paid bribes in east Africa to undermine anti-smoking policy.
On Friday, the SFO confirmed that the results of its investigation and review “did not meet the evidential test for prosecution.”
BAT welcomed the SFO’s announcement. “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 firm wrote in a statement to shareholders.
Paul Hopkins, who worked for BAT in Kenya for 13 years, told BBC’s Panorama in 2015 he had begun paying bribes after being told it was the cost of doing business in Africa. “The truth is that we do not and will not tolerate corruption, no matter where it takes place,” BAT told Panorama at the time.
In April, BAT said it was also under investigation in the U.S. for a possible breach of sanctions.
The London-based firm said it was cooperating with the Justice Department and the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, which enforces economic sanctions.