European Community v. RJR Nabisco, Inc.

The European Union sued RJR Nabisco claiming that the company directed and managed a global smuggling and money-laundering scheme with organized crime groups in violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) law. In this decision, the court disagreed with a lower court and revived the case against RJR. The court ruled that RJR could be sued under the RICO law because (1) some of the underlying laws that were allegedly violated (e.g., money laundering) apply outside of the United States; and (2) violations of other laws (e.g., mail and wire fraud) occurred inside the United States. Additionally, the court ruled that the federal court has jurisdiction to hear the case because the European Union (known as the European Community in this lawsuit) qualifies as a foreign state.


European Community v. RJR Nabisco, Inc., No. 11-2475-cv (2d Cir. 2014).

  • United States
  • Apr 23, 2014
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit


Plaintiff European Community, acting on its own behalf and on behalf of the Member States it has power to represent, Kingdom of Belgium, Republic of Finland, French Republic, Hellenic Republic, Federal Republic of Germany, Italian Republic, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, Kingdom of the Netherlands, Portugese Republic, Kingdom of Spain, Individually, Kingdom of Denmark, Czech Republic, Republic of Lithuania, Republic of Slovenia, Republic of Malta, Republic of Hungary, Republic of Ireland, Republic of Estonia,


  • Nabisco Group Holdings Corp.
  • R.J. Reynolds Global Products, Inc.
  • R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company
  • R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, a North Carolina Corporation
  • R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Holdings, Inc.
  • R.J. Reynolds Tobacco International, Inc.
  • Reynolds American Inc.
  • RJR Acquisition Corp., f/k/a Nabisco Group Holdings Corp.
  • RJR Nabisco Holdings Corp.
  • RJR Nabsico, Inc.

Legislation Cited

Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FISA), 28 USC section 1603

The Travel Act, 18 USC section 1952

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