Friday, January 7, 2005
On Jan. 6, the Monsanto Company settled an SEC complaint that it made payments to Indonesian officials in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and agreed to pay a $500,000 fine. According to the SEC's Litigation Release:
[A] senior Monsanto manager, based in the United States, authorized and directed an Indonesian consulting firm to make an illegal payment totaling $50,000 to a senior Indonesian Ministry of Environment official ("the senior Environment Official"). The bribe was made to influence the senior Environment Official to repeal an unfavorable decree that was likely to have an adverse effect on Monsanto's business. Although the payment was made, the unfavorable decree was not repealed. The Commission further charged that the senior Monsanto manager devised a scheme whereby false invoices were submitted to Monsanto and the senior Monsanto manager approved the invoices for payment.
The Commission further charged that the company failed to maintain proper books and records related to "$700,000 of illegal or questionable payments made to at least 140 current and former Indonesian government officials and their family members. The approximate $700,000 was derived from a bogus product registration scheme undertaken by two Indonesian entities owned or controlled by Monsanto." The company also entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the Department of Justice under which it agreed to pay a $1 million fine and hire an "independent compliance consultant." (Monsanto press release here) (ph)