Mark Iandolo Dec. 18, 2015, 12:58pm


NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) – New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman recently announced a settlement with major tobacco companies over the 1998 Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA).

The settlement agreement releases $550 million belonging to New York citizens from an escrow account that had stayed there during a decade-long dispute between the tobacco companies and the state.

“Big Tobacco must pay for the damage it has done and continues to inflict on communities across New York State,” Schneiderman said. “My office will continue to hold these companies accountable for the burden their addictive, deadly products impose on the taxpayers of this state, and we will act to ensure that the people of New York are compensated for the enormous harms they have suffered. Today’s announcement is long overdue, but sure to be welcomed by communities and municipalities across our state.”

Under procedures of the MSA, the tobacco companies had been able to withhold a strong portion of the approximately $775 million combined annual settlement payments to the state. Under the new settlement, 90 percent of the funds will be released.

Assistant Attorney General John Oleske and associates in the Tobacco Compliance Bureau handled the settlement agreement.

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