In Tobacco Suit, Racketeering Law Is Potent Government Weapon

Bloomberg News
Thursday, 9/23/99
by Greg Stohr
[continued from Index page back]

[Provided by Tobacco Daily News Summaries]
The US Justice Department has pulled out an anti-racketeering law created to target mobsters for its multi-billion dollar lawsuit against the tobacco industry.

Government lawyers say that Philip Morris, RJ Reynolds and other cigarette makers violated the 1970 Federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), which subjects companies to civil and criminal liability if they engage in a pattern of illegal activities.

Experts say that RICO could be the law that forces the tobacco industry to return decades of profits. G. Robert Blakey, a law professor at the University of Notre Dame who authored RICO, said, "I don't see a significant weakness in this. There are no significant problems in the federal litigation."

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