Monsanto Fined $1.5 Million for Bribery
The US agrochemical giant Monsanto has agreed to pay a $1.5m (£799,000)
fine for bribing an Indonesian official.
Monsanto admitted one of its employees paid the senior official two
years ago in a bid to avoid environmental impact studies being conducted
on its cotton.
In addition to the penalty, Monsanto also agreed to three years' close
monitoring of its business practices by the American authorities.
It said it accepted full responsibility for what it called improper
A former senior manager at Monsanto directed an Indonesian consulting
firm to give a $50,000 bribe to a high-level official in Indonesia's
environment ministry in 2002.
The manager told the company to disguise an invoice for the bribe
as "consulting fees".
Monsanto was facing stiff opposition from activists and farmers who
were campaigning against its plans to introduce genetically-modified
cotton in Indonesia.
Despite the bribe, the official did not authorise the waiving of the
environmental study requirement.
Monsanto also has admitted to paying bribes to a number of other high-ranking
officials between 1997 and 2002.
The chemicals-and-crops firm said it became aware of irregularities
at a Jakarta-based subsidiary in 2001 and launched an internal investigation
before informing the US Department of Justice and the Securities and
Exchange Commission (SEC).
Monsanto faced both criminal and civil charges from the Department
of Justice and the SEC.
"Companies cannot bribe their way into favourable treatment by foreign
officials," said Christopher Wray, assistant US attorney general.
Monsanto has agreed to pay $1m to the Department of Justice, adopt
internal compliance measures, and co-operate with continuing civil
and criminal investigations.
It is also paying $500,000 to the SEC to settle the bribe charge and
other related violations.
Monsanto said it accepted full responsibility for its employees' actions,
adding that it had taken "remedial actions to address the activities
in Indonesia" and had been "fully co-operative" throughout the investigative
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