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High court nixes European suit against R.J. Reynolds

Associated Press

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court says the European Union can’t pursue a lawsuit accusing tobacco giant R.J. Reynolds of taking part in a global money-laundering scheme that sponsored cigarette-smuggling in Europe.

The justices ruled Monday that the EU has no right to sue in U.S. courts because federal racketeering laws don’t allow recovery for injuries occurring outside the United States.

The EU and 26 of its member states allege R.J. Reynolds had help from Colombian and Russian criminal groups and laundered money through New York-based financial institutions.

The EU claims the company’s actions hurt the economies of EU member nations by depriving governments of tax revenues.

A federal judge threw out the claims. But a federal appeals court ruled racketeering laws can apply to crimes committed in foreign countries.

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