Philip Morris International Inc. (PMI) (NYSE:PM) (Paris:PM) today announced that it will contribute 15 million euros to INTERPOL to support the agency’s global initiative to combat trans-border crime involving illicit goods, including tobacco products.
Commenting on the announcement, PMI Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Louis Camilleri said: “Counterfeit and contraband cigarettes present a debilitating problem for business and government alike and so we are delighted to announce our support of INTERPOL’s global efforts to combat illegal trafficking.”
Global consumption of illicit cigarettes is estimated at 600 billion cigarettes a year and represents the world’s most trafficked consumer product. Unfortunately the problem is getting worse, for example a recent study, conducted by KPMG LLP (KPMG), estimated that the annual consumption of illicit cigarettes in the EU increased by 1.1 billion units in 2011 versus 2010, to a record total of 65.3 billion units. KPMG estimates the associated national and EU revenue loss to be approximately 11.3 billion euros. This illegal trade damages not just the tobacco sector but also fuels further criminality with proceeds being used to fund other activities like drug smuggling, human trafficking and terrorism.
“The eradication of illicit cigarettes and the criminality associated with it requires a concerted and coordinated cross-border effort which INTERPOL is ideally placed to lead,” added Artyom Chernis, PMI Vice President for Illicit Trade Strategies and Prevention. “ We look forward to our cooperation and the positive results we are confident it will yield.”PMI’s contribution to INTERPOL’s Fund for A Safer World will be used for coordination of information gathering, training programs for law enforcement officials, development of product authentication standards and the execution of public information campaigns. Philip Morris International Inc. Philip Morris International Inc. (PMI) is the leading international tobacco company, with seven of the world’s top 15 brands, including Marlboro, the number one cigarette brand worldwide. PMI’s products are sold in approximately 180 countries. In 2011, the company held an estimated 16.0% share of the total international cigarette market outside of the U.S., or 28.1% excluding the People’s Republic of China and the U.S. For more information, see www.pmi.com. PMI has committed significant resources over the years to combat the illicit trade in cigarettes and has undertaken a broad series of measures including implementation of a global tracking and tracing system, comprehensive know-your-customer policies, consumer education and collaboration with governments. For more information on PMI's activities to combat the illicit trade in tobacco products, visit: www.pmi.com/illicittrade For more information about the KMPG study of illicit cigarettes in the EU, visit: www.pmi.com/STAR2011