It has recently come to light that Phillip Morris International ( PMI) and Inexto are facing criminal investigation charges in Argentina. The tobacco conglomerate is under investigation for charges of corruption, collusion, bribery and conspiracy. In an article released the Spanish language magazine, the Tribuna de Periodistas, lawyer Jay Clayton has been cited as leading the investigation.
Clayton, for those who may be unfamiliar, is the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC has been investigating PMI for some time on suspicion of illegal trade practices and falsifying records. The company’s are suspected of being falsified to show losses that have not been incurred in order to” manipulate the company’s control system [using] sophisticated methodologies and defraud its shareholders with fraudulent practices, and may even include money laundering.” The case is of interest to shareholders who purchase stocks of PMI publicly and would risk loosing a great deal of money if the company were to be served a lawsuit of the size hinted at.
Clayton received a letter from lawyer Alejandro Sánchez Kalbermatten informing him of the development in the PMI lawsuit. In the letter to Clayton Kalbermatten wrote, “It is necessary to reveal the macabre and repudiate practices of the dishonest leaders of the PMI company in the Argentine Republic, and possibly in the rest of the world where it interacts by itself or by subsidiaries, affiliates or controlling companies.” The judicial file Kalbermatten refers too is CFP 17766/2016, titled in court as “Costa Marcelo et al. unlawful association” Costa, the subsidiaries of PMI and Phillip Morris Products South America are all named in the suit. Interestingly, PoliticaJudicial.com sites the leadership of Inexto including Philippe Chatelain, Patrick Chanez and Erwan Fredat. as many of the accused. These three individuals are really the men behind Codentify, who originally developed the system for PMI and moved with the technology to Inexto when it was sold.
PMI is being accused of manipulation of the market under the guise of another independent party, Inexto. Inexto and their Codentify technology are supposedly monitoring the production and supply of tobacco and tobacco products in Argentina. However if in fact Codentify is being used as cover for Phillip Morris International then the reliability of their reports would be undeniably low.
The repercussions of this investigation can not be ignored. If PMI and Inexto are implementing practices like this in Argentina the threat of them transplanting their tactics to Europe is just a matter of time. The Codentify technology would not be trusthworthy and in fact meerly a puppet for PMI. The attack against PMI includes an attack on Argentinain offiicals who would have accepted bribes in order to allow these practices to continue undetected. “The big tobacco companies devised and planned a strategy to install this pseudo control system,” Kalbermatten claims in his letter to Clayton, “ in this particular case the Argentine Republic and the public officials of the AFIP and INTI, even appear to act encouraged by fees paid by the tobacco giant.”