SABMiller has strongly refuted claims that its Latin American unit Bavaria is supporting illegal paramilitaries in Colombia.

At his trial this week, Salvatore Mancuso, a paramilitary leader in the country, named Bavaria as helping the illegal armies. Mancuso also claimed that domestic soft drinks leader Postobon was making donations.

"Contrary to the allegations reported in the press, Bavaria has not made payments of any kind to illegal groupings operating in various areas in Colombia," SABMiller told just-drinks today (18 May). "Bavaria also confirms that it has not made any such payments to any of its distributors, whether they operate in regions affected by public order or not. The distributors of Bavaria products are legally independent and autonomous entities, which buy products from Bavaria, in order to re-sell them to retailers."

The brewer added that all compensation made to third party distributors over the past decade has been checked, and no evidence of any payments to paramilitary organisations could be found.

"Bavaria regrets these allegations and stands ready to support any further investigations in this regard," the company concluded.

Mancuso reeled off a list of multinational and domestic companies he claims have funded the United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia, at his hearing in Medellin on Wednesday.