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Tobacco Companies Plead Guilty to Bribing Kyrgyz, Thai Officials

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Two foreign subsidiaries of Virginia-based Alliance One International Inc. pleaded guilty on Friday to bribing officials in Thailand and Kyrgyzstan to secure contracts and purchase tobacco leaf, the Justice Department said.

Alliance One International AG, a Swiss corporation, was charged with conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practice Act and violations of the anti-bribery and the books and records provisions of the statute. The Justice Department said the company paid bribes to Thai government officials to land contracts with the Thailand Tobacco Monopoly, which controls cigarette production in the country.

Alliance One Tobacco Osh LLC, in Kyrgyzstan, pleaded guilty to similar violations. The company admitted to paying bribes to Kyrgyz officials in connection with its purchase of tobacco in that country.

The subsidiaries agreed to pay a combined $9.5 million in fines. Alliance One also entered into a non-prosecution agreement with the department under which it is required to retain an independent monitor for at least three years to oversee the company’s anti-corruption and anti-bribery compliance program.

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