Imperial Tobacco has denied rumours that a number of managers at its German subsidiary Reemtsma, including sales and marketing director Manfred Haussler, have been arrested.

The denial follows the tobacco giant’s confirmation yesterday that German customs officials were searching the offices of its Reemtsma subsidiary in Hamburg.

Furthermore, Imperial Tobacco this morning said that it “does not sell cigarettes to Iraq, either directly or indirectly, nor has Haussler been implicated in the sale of cigarettes to Iraq”.

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.

It also confirmed that a number of Reemtsma managers, including Haussler, had been charged in connection with the investigation.