Ukraine’s National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption (NAZK) has added two of the world’s leading tobacco companies, Philip Morris International and Japan Tobacco International, to the list of international sponsors of the war, according to the Agency’s statement.
“The companies continue to do business in Russia and support the economy of the aggressor country by paying significant taxes to its budget,” the NAZK statement reads.
Philip Morris International is an American global cigarette and tobacco company selling its products in more than 180 countries. Its most famous brands are Marlboro, Parliament, Bond, Chesterfield, L&M, Next, HEETS.
The company owns two factories in Russia, Philip Morris Izhora JSC and Philip Morris Izhora Kuban JSC, and its subsidiary Philip Morris Sales and Marketing LLC with branches in about 100 cities across Russia.
“Philip Morris International’s market share in Russia was 30.1% in 2019. Thus, the company is one of the largest taxpayers to the Russian budget, which then supports the Russian army,” NAZK says.
According to NAZK, at the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Philip Morris International announced its intention to sell its business in Russia, yet the company remains one of Russia’s largest taxpayers. Reuters reported in March 2022, that Philip Morris said it suspended investments in Russia, and was going to scale back manufacturing in the country.
Japan Tobacco International (JTI) shares another 34.9% of Russia’s tobacco market, the company’s portfolio in Russia includes international brands such as Winston, LD, Mevius, Camel, Sobranie, and Russian brands such as Donskoy Tabak, Kiss, Play, Peter I, Troika and others.
“Although JTI representatives stated that the JT Group has suspended new investments and marketing activities in Russia, the company still continues to manufacture and distribute products in Russia,” NAZK wrote.