Imperial Tobacco has confirmed that German customs officials have been searching the offices of its Reemtsma subsidiary in Hamburg.

The UK-based maker of Embassy and Lambert & Butler said that it understood that the officers were investigating alleged foreign trading and related violations by Reemtsma, prior to Imperial’s acquisition of the group last summer.

The tobacco giant said that a number of Reemtsma managers, including sales and marketing director Manfred Haussler, have been charged in connection with the investigation.