Dear all,

PMI finances “independent reports” on the status of illicit cigarette trade in several regions. Often these reports were undertaken by KMPG.
We always felt that these reports only served the interest of PMI. See for instance https://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/23/e1/e51
In the latest KPMG report for europe https://www.stopillegal.com/docs/default-source/external-docs/kpmg-report---2019-results/kpmg-report-illicit-cigarette-consumption-in-the-eu-uk-norway-and-switzerland-2019-results.pdf, published this year, there is an important notice: 

"This presentation of this report (the ‘Report’) has been prepared by KPMG LLP. The Report was commissioned by PMPSA (Philip Morris Products SA), described in this Important Notice and in this Report as the ‘beneficiary’, on the basis set out in a private contract between the beneficiary and KPMG LLP dated 06th March 2020 agreed separately with the beneficiary."
And 
"This Report has not been designed to benefit any specific organisation other than the beneficiary. In preparing this Report we have not taken into account the interests, needs, or circumstances of any specific organisation, other than the beneficiary. This Report is not suitable to be relied on by any party wishing to acquire rights or assert any claims against KPMG LLP for any purpose or in any context. As such, any person or entity (other than the beneficiary) who reads this Report and chooses to rely on it (or any part of it) will do so at their own risk. To the fullest extent permitted by law, KPMG LLP does not assume any responsibility and will not accept any liability in respect of this Report." 

So this report only benefit PMI (the beneficiary). Something we said in the past and what KPMG confirms.
A former PMI partner claims in the NY court this month that these reports are biased and suggests data manipulation. 
The complaint says for instance on page 10: "44. PMI today uses Empty Pack Surveys (EPS) data as a political instrument to target certain “illicit competitors,” to lobby against taxes, and to recharacterize PMI’s own transnational and transborder flow of its products.4 For example:
a) When the characteristics of the packages and in particular the origin were not in line with PMI’s objectives of local markets, PMI unilaterally modified these characteristics without asking the other EPS survey participants.
b) In other instances, PMI demanded the removal of certain EPS reports(including in the European Union and Latin America) on the grounds that the results of the surveys did not match PMI’s expectations.
c) PMI further more sought to reframe how EPS data (Mexico,Quarter 4, 2019) was reported, to obscure the fact that PMI counterfeit products had been found.
d) While Nicolas Otte5 was the Director of PMI’s Latin American zone, PMI manipulated several EPS reports to highlight the influence of foreign brands designated as illicit. Specifically, PMI misidentified the origin of certain illicit brands as being Chinese, when in fact, such cigarettes were sourced from Guatemala. As a result, PMI was able to obtain reductions or increases in taxes, as best fits its strategic ends."

We are eager to see the outcome of this complaint introduced at the Supreme Court of the State of NY on 2 November 2020. 
INDEX NO. 654062/2020
See also the link of investigative journalists on the complaint

occrp.org/en/daily/13413
 
Best Wishes

Luk Joossens