national headlines. There is currently a billion-dollar civil case pending against Phillip Morris, filed by the Colombian government, over alleged lost cigarette taxes. In 1998 a Reynolds Tobacco subsidiary settled a case involving taxes on cigarettes transported from Canada and paid fifteen million dollars in fines and penalties. A former executive of that company went to jail. Hundreds of other Fortune 500 companies were investigated by the U. S. government. Finally, Bonnie Tishler, Assistant Commissioner of U. S. Customs Service, in a statement before the Congress of the United States, on June 19, 1999, stated that the Treasury Department had elected not to pursue prosecution. 'It is very difficult, with a large Corporate structure, to get your hands around exactly who may or may not be facilitating the business of money laundering… By punishing the U. S. Corporations, we may in turn be punishing… Their ability to sell their products to countries such as Colombia. It could hurt our ability to export and cost us jobs, while at the same time not really making any progress against the drug cartels… The object of our investigation is not to put U. S. companies in jail.'

Instead of prosecuting corporate officers, the federal government elected to mail out warnings to hundreds of U. S. companies that helped launder billions in Colombian drug dollars.

To date, no further action has been taken.

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