In the 1990s, Western tobacco companies started to export huge amounts of cigarettes to states of the former Eastern Bloc. From there, the cigarettes were smuggled back to Western Europe and sold untaxed. To operate their smuggling activities, tobacco companies cooperated with criminal networks which after some time developed a life of their own. In 1999, two importers of Imperial Tobacco and BAT were murdered in Kaliningrad.[1] Between 2000 and 2002, Imperial Tobacco provided 900 Mio. cigarettes of the Regal and Superkings brand to the Russian exclave Kaliningrad at the Baltic Sea.[2] In the second half of the 2000s, cigarettes particularly made for smuggling into EU countries were produced in the Russian Federation. The most popular brand of these is Jin Ling whose packaging resembles the brand of Camel.[3] These cigarettes were manufactured e.g. at the Baltic Tobacco Factory in Kaliningrad. The cigarette manufacturing equipment originated among others from Germany, tobacco leaf has repeatedly been supplied by Souza Cruz, a subsidiary of BAT in Brazil.[4]

Further information:

International Consortium of Investigative Journalists: Inside Baltic Tobacco’s smuggling empire (2008)