Othmar Karas

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Othmar Karas is an Austrian politician, who is a member of the European People’s Party (EPP) and since 2012 has been Vice-President of the European Parliament. Karas also chairs the Kangaroo Group, a group that has been described as “one of a number of groups which provide extra-curricula contact between corporate industry lobbyists and MEPs”[1]. Its membership includes several tobacco company senior employees. [2]

Links with tobacco companies

Regular meetings with Philip Morris International (PMI)

According to leaked internal PMI documents[3][4], Mr Karas has had regular meetings with PMI whilst the EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) was being revised. According to the PMI documents, the company coded Mr Karas’ position on TPD policy options as ‘green’, indicating his views on the TPD were compatible with those of the tobacco company.

To read more about the TPD revision, visit: EU Tobacco Products Directive Revision

Former Parliamentary Assistant, now Manager Corporate Affairs at Philip Morris Austria

One of Mr Karas’ former Parliamentary Assistants, Stefan Pinter, is now working for Philip Morris Austria as Manager Corporate Affairs. [5] Mr Pinger’s Linkedin profile states that he was “Head of Office/ Parliamentary Assistant to MEP Othmar Karas” from August 2004 to August 2005. He subsequently held several functions in public affairs in Brussels, before he took up the position with Philip Morris Austria in November 2012.

TobaccoTactics Resources

External Resources

Official website: http://www.othmar-karas.at/de/index.php (in German/English)

European Parliament MEP biography: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meps/en/4246/Othmar_KARAS_home.html (in English)


  1. iptegrity.com, EU Parliament’s Kangaroo Group hops onto ACTA, iptegrity.com, 10 October 2011
  2. Kangaroo Group, Members, Kangaroo Group website, accessed December 2013
  3. Philip Morris International, Friday sheet 15th June, leaked Philip Morris documents, accessed in October 2013
  4. Philip Morris International, EU Tobacco Products Directive Review 17 August 2012, leaked Philip Morris documents, accessed in October 2013
  5. LinkedIn profile Stefan Pinter undated, accessed December 2013