The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a very strange case in which the member states of the European Community, including Germany, France and Sweden, accuse R.J. Reynolds of overseeing a vast conspiracy to launder drug money through the sale of cigarettes.
The issue the Supreme Court has agreed to decide is whether the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act applies to activities outside the U.S. But more interesting is the underlying lawsuit: In it, these European nations accuse Reynolds of engaging in a breathtaking array of criminal acts including money laundering, bribery and facilitating the sale of illegal drugs.
“The proceeds of enormous amounts of Colombian cocaine money and Russian heroin money derived from narcotics sales in the United States and THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITY, as well as the proceeds of other crimes, were laundered through the purchase