Today's Big Stories

Tobacco giant cuts ties with forensic firm after claims of improper conduct

EWN reporter Barry Bateman exposed how a former policeman-turned spy, Francois van der Westhuizen, accused British American Tobacco of hiring spies and bribed authorities to muscle their competitors out.

According to Bateman, it is alleged that BAT SA had strong connections with law enforcement authorities and they would gather information on their competitor, pass it on to the authorities claiming illicit trading by these companies. The law enforcement authorities would raid these companies, confiscate certain brands of cigarettes, making it hard for their competitors to trade successfully.

All this was done by the private investigations agency, Forensic Security Services (FSS), the company where the whistle blower worked.

He says these allegations were posted on a Twitter account that links to about 12,000 online documents purporting to support allegations of unlawful conduct by BAT SA.

The twitter account was subsequently blocked following complaints from BAT and people who have been implicated.

Barry Bateman, EWN reporter

It shows invoices of payments to agents who were drivers for the competitors and so on and it appeared to support these allegations.

Barry Bateman, EWN reporter

BAT has since dismissed the FSS saying it will no longer conduct the type of services that had come to light and investigations are being conducted.

Listen to the full conversation below:

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