Pernod Ricard and Diageo are set to face a lawsuit from the Colombian government.

The two drinks giants were notified yesterday (19 June) that the Government has been given the go-ahead to pursue the lawsuit by US District Judge Nicholas Garaufis. The case concerns allegations that Pernod and Diageo illegally imported spirits via Colombian companies that launder drug money.

When contacted by just-drinks today, a spokesperson for Pernod said: "We are currently reviewing Judge Garaufis' comments with our lawyers.

"Obviously, we intend to defend our position vigorously," the spokesperson added. A spokesperson for Diageo echoed the comments, saying that the company is "reviewing and considering the court's decision in detail".

In 2004, the Colombian government sued, alleging that the defendants had competed unfairly with government-owned businesses in the production and distribution of liquors by selling their products into illegal channels and receiving payments from companies who deal in laundered funds.

A pre-trial hearing has been set for 10 July.