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Massachusetts Sues Foreign Tobacco Cos.

BOSTON -- Five foreign tobacco companies that haven't contributed to a fund to pay for future settlements and judgments against them should be banned from doing business in Massachusetts.

The companies, which are not part of the 1998 national tobacco settlement with major domestic companies, failed to set aside about $1,400 in an escrow account as required by state law, said Massachusetts Attorney General Thomas Reilly. He wants the companies prohibited from doing business in the state until they are in compliance with the law.

The escrow funds are to be used to pay settlements against the companies in lawsuits the state may bring against them to recover smoking related costs, the Associated Press reported.

Since October, Reilly has brought similar lawsuits against five other cigarette manufacturers.

The companies named in the most recent suite are: Mohanlal Hargovinddas of India, manufacturer of Sher Bidi and Pahelwan Bidi cigarettes; China National Tobacco Import & Export Co., manufacturer of Ginseng, Daqianmen and Double Horses brands; Karelia Tobacco Co. Inc. of Japan, manufacturer of Karelia cigarettes; Sekap S.A. Greek Cooperative Cigarette Manufacturing Co., maker of GR and Ideal cigarettes; and Administrazione dei Monopoli di Stato of Italy, maker of MS cigarettes.
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