McGraw

CHARLESTON - West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw's office has filed a lawsuit against a Greek cigarette company, claiming they illegally sold their products in the state.

The suit, filed June 25 in Kanawha Circuit Court, claims SeKap S.A. sold almost 1 million Marathon and GR cigarettes in the West Virginia in 2006, but did not comply with the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement.

According to the suit, the company, based in Piraeus, Greece, was required to put a small percentage of each unit of cigarettes sold in escrow. However, they failed to do so, and now owe the state more than $20,943.

"A part of the Legislature's purpose in enacting (tobacco laws) was to guarantee for the State a source of compensation and to prevent tobacco product manufacturers from deriving large, short-term profits and then becoming judgment-proof before the liability may arise," the suit says.

GR and Marathon cigarettes were pulled from shelves in West Virginia as of June 23.

The AG's office seeks damages, including imposing 300 percent interest on the amount the company was supposed to put in escrow, which totals more than $62,830.

The case has been assigned to Judge Charles King.

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