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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

ATF News>
For Immediate Release:
Jeff Cohen (212) 264-8060

29, 2000

ATF Suspends McCormick's Distillery Basic Permits
$2 Million
in Penalties Assessed

- Beginning July 1, 2000, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
(ATF) will suspend for seven days the distillery basic permits of McCormick
Distilling Company, Weston, Missouri. The suspension is part of a settlement
agreement that also includes McCormick's payment of a $1 million Offer-in-Compromise
to resolve alleged violations of the Federal Alcohol Administration Act.
The suspension and Offer-in-Compromise stem from McCormick's failure to
comply with Federal record keeping requirements relating to the production,
shipment, and exportation of distilled spirits.

In a
related criminal case, McCormick pled guilty in United States District
Court in Newark, New Jersey, to making false entries in required Internal
Revenue Code distillery records by characterizing potable distilled spirits
as industrial products. The false entries aided other parties who were
allegedly involved in a scheme to smuggle distilled spirits disguised
as windshield washer fluid and other solvents into the Ukrainian Republic
and Russia. As part of the guilty plea, McCormick paid an additional $1
million in tax restitution to the Ukrainian Republic, and a fine of $10,250
to the U.S. Justice Department. On June 1, 2000, Assistant Attorney General
James Robinson presented the Ukrainian Ambassador with the $1 million
paid by McCormick in restitution for lost Ukrainian excise taxes.

The suspension
of McCormick's permits, the $1 million Offer-in-Compromise, and the criminal
investigation that resulted in an additional $1 million fine represent
ATF's continued emphasis on investigating and taking action against alcohol
and tobacco permitees involved in illegal diversion schemes.