Andrew Whist's deposition

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

Andrew Whist was a Norwegian traveller who established himself in Philip Morris in Australia in the public relations area, after meeting with, and being hired by Hamish Maxwell. Later he formed a bond also with Geoffrey C Bible who briefly ran the Australian company. Later Whist was transferred to New York and rose up the corporate ladder behind Maxwell, Bill Murray, William Webb and Bible. He then began bringing other Australian staff and associates along behind: Bryan Simpson (related to Rupert Murdoch) who ran the INFOTAB operations in Brussels, Phillip Francis who joined Whist in the Corporate Affairs Division of PMI in New York, and John Dollisson who ran PM's Asian operations in the USA before moving to Hong Kong. They formed a tight cabal with no discernable ethical standards, who came to control the most aggressive tobacco company in the world.

Whist specialised in surreptitious and clandestine operations, and he developed excellent political contacts in Europe as well as America.

However in June 1988 he was forced to give evidence in an Oklahoma court case which exposed some of his operations.

Q. What was the next position you held after 1990?
    A. I became the -- bearing in mind I may not be correct about 1990, but I became the Senior Vice President of External Affairs, Philip Morris US   
    A. I'm not so sure now. It could have been 1992.

Q. When you became Senior Vice President for External Affairs for Philip Morris USA, who did you report to?
    A. I reported to Bill Campbell.

Q. What was his position?
    A. He was, I think, at the time the President of Philip Morris USA.

Q. Have you reported as senior vice president of external affairs to somebody other than Bill Campbell?
    A. No, because I switched to Philip Morris Companies, Inc. [Note]

Q. What was your position with Philip Morris Companies, Inc.?
    A. The same title, Senior Vice President, External Affairs.

Q. Who did you report to as the Senior Vice President of External Affairs for Philip Morris Companies, Inc.?
    A. I reported to -- I think his title was Assistant Chairman. The name evades me. I'll try to remember it as we go along.

Q. Is your present position Senior Vice President of External Affairs for Philip Morris Companies, Inc.?

    A. Yes.


Later in the deposition he was quizzed on his activities:

Q. One of the organizations you mentioned that were included in the Philip Morris outreach that you were involved in as Vice President of Corporate Affairs of Philip Morris International was the New York Society for International Affairs?
    A. Yes.

Q. Can you tell me what that organization is?
    A. I need to take up some of your time, but I will. It's an organization that was started in 1980 by the late David Morse who had been earlier the Director General of the International Labor Organization that is a part of the United Nations system, and he, David Morse, received a Nobel Peace Prize for his work at the ILO.

Both Geoff Bible and Bill Murray knew David Morse in Geneva at the ILO (cira 1965), before they transferred over to work with Philip Morris Europe under Hamish Maxwell. Geoff Bible actually worked with Morse for a short while. They all socialised at the Geneva Squash Club with ILO, UN and WHO staff.

Later at PM's head office in New York (when the troika was in charge of the company) Bible, Murray and Maxwell contracted David Morse (now with the lawfirm Surrey & Morse) to create a fake UN front organisation known as the Institute for International Health and Development which Morse nominally ran. It was supposedly based at the Catholic University in Washington (Morse had the connections -- and ran the Knights of Malta organisation) and through this organization, they tried to get credentialed as an NGO, to allow a Philip Morris plant to participate in WHO meetings. This organization was later taken over by another tobacco lobbyist Paul Dietrich who managed to get himself onto the advisory council of the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO).

They also later hired Morse's replacement at the ILO, Francis Blanchard as a lobbyist, and through Morse and Blanchard they enlisted Warren Furth who was a top bureaucrat (Assistant Director) in the Geneva offices of WHO. [All of them had played squash together at the Geneva Squash Club.]

      A. When I came to New York I met with him (Morse). I became profoundly impressed by this extraordinary man, and he told me that there was a need perhaps, to have an international organization which would take in the minorities in the United States, which would take in the labor organizations, as well as management, the professions, and the other groups that typically do that kind of international work.
      And he asked me would I be prepared to start it with him, and I was delighted to.

Q. What were the goals of the organization to be?
    A. Well, the principal goal was free international trade, but there were others.

Q. What were the other goals?
    A. To have a forum where these groups could discuss their problems on a worldwide basis.

Q. When was that organization formed?
    A. I'm not sure of the exact date, but probably 1982.

Q. Did you take a leave of absence from Philip Morris for the purpose of starting up that organization?
    A. No, it did not require much time.

Q. Did you at any time hold any offices or been on the board of the New York Society?
    A. Yes. From the very outset.

Q. What titles have you held?
    A. I think originally I was a board member.
      David Morse was the Chairman, and I think at one point he made me the President, and that's what I'm still now.

Morse and Whist were the only two members. Morse then died and another tobacco lobbyist, Paul Dietrich, a law-partner with Morse (and ex editor of the Saturday Review when it was owned by Philip Morris) took over.

Q. At the time you met David Morse was he a partner at the Jones, Day law firm, do you know?
    A. No. He was in a principal in the firm called Surrey & Morse.

Q. And then subsequent to that that firm merged with Jones, Day?
    A. Yes.

Q. At any time has Philip Morris contributed money to the funding of the NYSIA?
    A. Oh, yes.

Q. Over the entire period of time that you've been involved with it?
    A. That I can't tell you. I think in the beginning the monies provided, I think, came from David Morse and a little from me.

Q. At some point in time, however, Philip Morris did start making contributions to the organization?
    A. Yes.

Q. Again, did you follow the channel of making requests for contributions to the same contribution committee?
    A. Yes.

Q. Would any of those requests have been made in writing?
    A. I think all.

Q. What was the justification to that committee that you made for the request?
    A. That the organization was one capable of fostering international peace and international trade, and that it would involve more segments of society than is ordinarily the case.

Q. At any point in time has Philip Morris made use of the New York Society for its own public relations or communication purposes?
    A. No.

Q. At any point in time has Philip Morris used the New York Society as a vehicle to further its own interests?
    A. No.

Q. Do you know what percentage of the New York Society's funding Philip Morris has contributed?
    A. It's a high percentage.

Q. Would it be correct to say that it's contributed as much as 98 percent in the 1990s?
    A. I'm not sure. I really don't know.

Q. Is it in excess of 50 percent?
    A. I would say so, yes..

Q. Is your involvement at the New York Society separate and distinct from your employment at Philip Morris?
    A. Well, in that I have a lot of freedom to do -- After 32 years at Philip Morris, you know, I don't really consult with anybody. I do what I think is right, and in this case, we're talking about the strong personal conviction which hopefully Philip Morris shares, but we have never discussed it.

Q. Does the New York Society have an office in the United States?
    A. Yes.

Q. Where is the office?
    A. In my apartment. It's in 211 Madison Avenue.

Q. Does the New York Society have any employees in the United States other than you?
    A. No. it's basically me.

Q. Are there other people at Philip Morris that assist with the New York Society?
    A. Yes. I have an assistant who from time to time helps me. His name is Kevin Callahan.

Q. How long has Mr. Callahan been your assistant?
    A. I think for a year or two.

Q. Did you have an assistant before Mr. Callahan?
    A. Yes, I did.

Q. Who was that assistant?
    A. Her name is Donna Sanders.

Q. Did she assist you with the New York Society?
    A. She assists me with just about everything I do. She's better known as Donna Wood. She was the former principal dancer at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Company.

Q. Is she still employed with the company?
    A. No.

Q. Does Mr. Callahan assist you with the AECA at all?
    A. Not much. Occasionally.

Q. Would you say he assists you with a little bit more with the New York Society?
    A. No. I don't think -- There's not a great deal of things that I can't do myself. So certainly if I'm not here he will answer messages, call me, help me with some travel arrangements, but, no, it's a small part of his time.

Q. The phone calls and what not that you make on behalf of the New York Society, do you make some of those from your offices at Philip Morris?
    A. Not often. It has happened.

Q. Are those charged to a separate account at Philip Morris?
    A. No.

Q. What account are they charged to?
    A. I guess my administration account. Those calls might amount to $25 a year, something like that.

Q. For all of the various meetings that you schedule, that's all the phone calls that get made?
    A. People -- I have to be very careful now because I don't want to paint myself in the wrong light. People normally seek me out. I don't seek them out. I'm quite well known in the international community.

Q. For some of the meetings that you've scheduled which have involved some US public officials, haven't you ever called those public officials in the United States.
    A. Never.

Q. No phone calls?
    A. Never. I don't deal with the individuals     [SNIP]

Q. In 1997, do you recall the trip that the New York Society for International Affairs was involved in which included US politicians or public officials traveling to Costa Rica?
    A. Oh, yes.

Q. Can you tell me what your involvement was in that trip?
    A. Okay. I was approached by representatives of the Costa Rican government.
      Would it be possible for me to find an organization that was interested in a visit to Costa Rica because it's important for them to - for trade and other purposes to remain close to the United States, and I said, Yes, I'll do that.
      At the subsequent time I met with a man whose name is Dan Sprague. He's the Executive Director of the Council for State Governments, and I mentioned this conversation to him, and he said, We would be interested in that and I said, All right, I'll see if I can effect a visit.

Q. How did you happen to know the government officials of Costa Rica?
    A. You would have to bear with me because it will take some time. Very early, after I came to New York, I met a man name Danilo Jimenez and at the time he was -- he was the Costa Rican Ambassador to the United States. We met, and he told me that his nation, small nation, found it very difficult to get the appropriate notice here and internationally. And could I help.
      I so I said yes. Why not. Unfortunately he died, and his widow, Muni Figueres, also a former official of Costa Rican government, asked me if I could continue to help and I said yes.

[ Muni Figueres was external relations director of the IntraAmerican Development Bank and a so-called 'member of te board of directors of American European Community Association (AECA) where Whist was Chairman and the office was a seat in his New York apartment.]

Q. Philip Morris has a plant in Costa Rica, don't they?
    A. I don't know.

Q. Philip Morris sells cigarettes in 13 Costa Rica?
    A. Since we did in most other parts of the world, probably. You may recall I said we're in 160 markets.

Q. All your dealings with the Costa Rican ambassador and subsequently in scheduling, for example, this trip to Costa Rica, was that all on your personal time?
    A. Yeah.

Q. Nothing to do with Philip Morris?
    A. No.

Q. Except that Philip Morris provided the vast majority of the funding for the trip to Costa Rico
    A. No. Philip Morris did not provide the vast ... No.

Q. Well, Philip Morris provides most of the funding to the New York Society, don't they?
    A. Well, that's an entirely different issue.

Q. Who paid for the trip?
    A. New York Society.

Q. And they get most of their funding from Philip Morris?
    A. Yes.

Q. And Philip Morris cigarettes were given out on the trip, weren't they?
    A. Not to my knowledge.

Q. Did you go on the trip?
    A. Yes.

Q. You didn't notice any free Philip Morris cigarettes being given out at dinners or anything?
    A. No.

Q. Who went on that trip?
    A. It -- Basically, as I understand it, and I was told it was the leadership of the council -- I think it's for state governments.
      Anyway, that was what I was told.

Q. Did the people who go, to your knowledge, know that the New York Society received the majority of its funding from Philip Morris prior to the time they went on the trip?
    A. I have no idea.

Q. Have you read press reports where people such as Jody Richards said that he had been unaware prior to going that the New York Society received so much funding from Philip Morris?
    A. Yes.

Q. Did that surprise you?
    A. No.

Q. In your dealings with the Council for State Government, did you advise them that the New York Society, who would be funding this trip, receives the majority of its funding from Philip Morris?
    A. No.

Q. Other than Jody Richards, do you recall the names of any of the other people who went on the trip?
    A. You're testing my memory. Let me think.
      Muni Figueres traveled with us. Members from my staff traveled with us. The Executive Director of the Council, Dan Sprague, traveled with us. His assistant, whose name is Sharon, and you have to forgive me -- traveled with us. And I think there were -- the names I can't recall. I have a problem with names, but I can't recall names.

Q. What members of your staff went to Costa Rica?
    A. I had my -- assistant Kevin Callahan.

Q. Who else?
    A. I had an intern called Camille R-I-S-S-E- Raud R-A-U-D, and a fellow from Philip Morris called Bozeman, and I think that's it.

Q. Did the intern Camille Raud, Kevin Callahan, Bozeman and any other Philip Morris [fellows] take leaves of absence from Philip Morris to take the trip?
    A. In the case of Camille Raud, yes. I don't know if Kevin described it as time of work and I cannot answer what was because I simply don't know.

Q. Were they just traveling in their personal time to Costa Rica?
    A. The truthful answer is that in the case of Camille Raud I can tell you. The others I don't know. Kevin might have taken it as a holiday. I can go and check if you wish.

Q. Yeah, I would. And Camille, she took a leave of absence?
    A. Well, her term was virtually finished.

Q. Who asked them to go?
    A. I did.

Q. What was the purpose of them being present?
    A. Well, the reason for needing people is that it's quite a logistic exercise once you're on the road. People lose their luggage. There's problems with getting through, getting the tickets right. Any one of a million different tasks that you will have to pay very expensive people which we couldn't afford to handle normally like a, you know, I guess an employee of a travel agency or some such, and that charge -- cost a lot of money.

Q. Who paid for their travel expenses?
    A. In the case of Callahan and Camille Raud it came out of my budget.

Q. Your budget where?
    A. At Philip Morris.

Q. And what about the others, if you know?
    A. I don't know.

Q. In an instance such as that where their travel expenses are paid by Philip Morris, does Philip Morris report that as an additional contribution to the New York Society?
    A. The answer is, I don't know.

Q. Who other than Philip Morris contributes money to the New York Society?
    A. Well, because we have a number of meetings throughout the year, anybody who attends the meetings gives us a small amount.

Q. Do they pay -- You mean they pay for their participation in that particular meeting?
    A. Yeah.

Q. What about any other organizations, entities, or individuals who make a contribution to New York Society?
    A. There have been individuals who give quite substantial sums of money.

Q. Are there records kept of that?
    A. Oh, yes.

Q. Where are those records kept?
    A. In the -- In my office.

Q. In your apartment?
    A. Yes. That's my office.

Q. And you said that was what address on Madison Avenue?
    A. 211 Madison Avenue.

Q. Is there an apartment number?
    A. 7-B.

Q. Do you recall a trip to Africa in 1995?
    A. Yes.

Q. -- that the New York Society was involved in?
    A. Yes.

Q. Can you tell me about that trip?
    A. Okay. I met the man called Ambassador Son, I think it's S-O-N. He was the -- at the time the ambassador for South Africa to the United States, and he knew I had an interest in international exchange programs, and he said that would be a very timely and opportune time to visit South Africa in view of the fact that they've basically won their independence from apartheid, and he was particularly anxious to promote South Africa as a place to invest and generally get the world to know more about what they were doing.

Q. That trip was in 1995. Right?
    A. If you say so. I can't recall.

Q. And was it coordinated through the National Governors Association?
    A. Yes.

Q. Who did you deal with at the National Governors Association?
    A. I met with the executive director.

Q. Who was that?
    A. His name is Shephock, I think. I can't spell it for you; and Victoria, I'll have to give that name to you later [Becker]. Victoria, their international relations director.|

Q. In the context of your advance communications scheduling the trip to Africa in 1995, did you have any dealings, conversations or discussions with Governor Tommy Thompson of Wisconsin?
    A. He was the chairman at the time. It's possible, but I can't recall specifically.
[Tommy Thompson was President Bush II's appointment as Secretary of Health]

Q. You don't recall at least 12 phone calls that Tommy Thompson made to your office concerning the trip?
    A. He made 12 ? -- You're telling me something I'm not aware.

Q. You don't recall that?
    A. No.

Q. Do you recall any of the people who went on that trip?
    A. Yes, I do.

Q. Who?
    A. It was -- Let's think. The governor of the State of Nevada who was the next -- He was the chairman elect and his name is Bob Miller. Governor Branstad of -- forgive me if I can't remember the state [Iowa]. The governor, Tommy Thompson, of course, is the chairman; and 1 think -- and Governor Kirk Fordice of Mississippi.

Q. Were you aware at the time of the Africa trip that there were -- there was pending a lawsuit by the State of Missouri Attorney General against Philip Morris and other tobacco companies?
    A. I'm not involved in that. There's a possibility I knew, yes.

Q. Were you aware that at the time of the Africa trip the states of Iowa and Nevada had not yet sued Philip Morris?
    A. No. I didn't know that.

Q. On the Costa Rica trip, did Mississippi State Legislator Charlie Williams also go?
    A. Yes. I think he was the vice-chairman of the Council for State Government. So, yeah. I think he was there.

Q. And did the governor of Utah, Olene Walker also go on the trip?
    A. Who? Would you kindly repeat that?

Q. Governor Walker from Utah?
    A. I don't think so.

Q. Did the governor of New Mexico, Manny Aragon go on the Costa Rica trip?
... Not the governor. State official from New Mexico, Manny Aragon?
    A. I remember the name Manny Aragon. Yes.

Q. Do you recall a trip in 1996 to Australia organized by the New York Society?
    A. Yes.

Q. Did you go on that trip?
    A. Most likely, yeah.

Q. Did you go on the trip to Africa, too?
    A. Oh, yes.

Q. Did you bring any of your staff on the trip to Africa?
    A. Yes. Donna Sanders came with us. She's an African-American.

Q. Anybody else?
    A. No.

Q. How about to Australia? Did any of your staff go there?
    A. Let me think. I can't recall for the moment, but it's likely there was someone there, or at least I think so.

Q. Do you recall Philip Morris cigarettes being handed out at dinners at any of the other trips; for example, to Australia or Africa?
    A. No.

Q. These trips included what types of activities? And I'm referring to Australia, Africa and Costa Rico
    A. Okay. Much depends, of course, on the group with which you're traveling. In the case of the National Governor's Association it probably assumes more of a -- What's the word? They're probably more important to the host nation than some of the other organizations.
      So when they come, in this case to Australia, we could not meet with the head of state because he was traveling, but we met with the deputy prime minister. We met with the foreign minister. We met with the minister of trade and industry. We met with the minister of economy. We met with the president of the Australian Parliament. The Australian Parliament gave a reception there -- you know, from memory, and I could be wrong about this, about 100 members of the Australian Parliament present. We met with numerous business groups. We met, of course, with the US embassy. We met with the consulate corp in these very cities, and what have I left out?
      That's roughly it.

Q. Was there any sightseeing?
    A. On the weekends. Yes.

Q. There were press reports on the Costa Rica trip, I think, about jungle boat cruises and visits to coffee plantations and casinos. Do you recall that?
    A. Yes, I do. I recall the press reports. I do not agree with them. The visit to the coffee plantation was to meet with the head of the agricultural society, who was very anxious to sell Costa Rican coffee.
      What was the other thing?

Q. Jungle boat cruises?
    A. On the weekend some members of our party took a flat-bottom boat with an outboard motor up a little river. They were looking for something called the -- something monkey that makes a tremendous noise. I don't know what they charged but the charge was probably $11. Certainly wouldn't be more than $20.

Q. Each of those people who went paid for that themselves?
    A. I have no idea
    I assume so.

Q. And in Australia was there also sightseeing?
    A. Yes. We went on a particularly nice cruise on the Sydney harbor. It's a beautiful place, and we went on the boat which was provided by one of the hosts. We had lunch on board. We saw the sights, which is customary thing to do when you're in Australia.. We also visited the resort which was very anxious to promote its name and so, basically, the weekend activity was at the resort, and the other extra curriculum thing was this two-hour luncheon, I think it was, on the Sydney Harbor. These trips are very work-intensive.

Q. Except that you and the people from Philip Morris were just working on your own behalf contributing -- them contributing their time to the New York Society?
    A. Uh-huh.

Q. You weren't doing any work for Philip Morris?
    A. No.

Q. Were you aware in 1995 and '96 when these trips were taking place that at the time the tobacco companies were lobbying the National Governor's Association to take strong action to oppose the tobacco Medicaid cost-recovery cases that had been brought by various state attorney generals?
    A. No.

Q. Were you aware, in fact, subsequent to Governor Fordice's trip to Africa sponsored by New York Society that Governor Fordice brought a lawsuit against Attorney General Mike Moore to try and prevent General Moore's case proceeding against the tobacco companies?
    A. Yes. I think I saw reference to that in a TV program.

Q. Were you aware that Philip Morris funded the legal representation that Mr. Fordice had in bringing that law suit?
    A. No.

Q. Mississippi State legislator Charlie Williams has gone on trips other than to just Costa Rica, hasn't he, that were sponsored by the New York Society?
    A. I think he came with us on one other occasion, but there have been quite a few. So just which one, I can't remember.

Q. Perhaps to Spain?
    A. Yeah.

Q. Did you know that while the New York Society was providing Mr. Williams trips that Mr. Williams was planning his campaign for the governor nomination which he indicated -- he has indicated he anticipates could be against the Attorney General, Mike Moore, of Mississippi?

    A. No. [2]

Following this deposition it became obvious to Philip Morris that his continued presence in the United States risked further depositions in the accumulating court cases. Any casual reading of the deposition today also exposes dozens of outright lies. Geoff Bible therefore phoned friends in Australia and Whist was 'seconded' on an "executive exchange program" to Australian Telecom, which was in the process of being fully privatised by the conservative government which had promised only to part-privatise. He stayed in Australia for about a year, then quietly shifted back to the USA and lived outside New York.

His exchange with Telecom Australia appears to have been with Bob Deards the ex-Telecom Australian Marketing Manager, who became director of the Tobacco Document Centre (a hurried replacement for the Tobacco Institute of Australian following the Master Settlement Agreement exposure.)

He kept his head down and doesn't seem to have ever been prosecuted.