notes Monsanto played fair
JAKARTA, January 13, 2005,The Jakarta Post, Muninggar
Sri Saraswati: Former state minister for environment
Nabiel Makarim was cited as admitting on Wednesday that
U.S.-based Monsanto Co., one of the world's leading developers
of genetically modified (GM) crops, had lobbied him to
facilitate its business in Indonesia, adding, "There
was lobbying, but it was in line with the law. It's something
The story says that Monsanto agreed last week to pay a
US$1 million penalty to the U.S. Department of Justice,
which charged the company with violating the U.S. Foreign
Corrupt Practices Act when it bribed certain Indonesian
government officials to allow it to develop GM crops in
this country. It also agreed to pay another $500,000 to
the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Nabiel also admitted that he had a close relationship
with Harvey Goldstein, the president director of the Jakarta-based
Harvest International Indonesia business consulting company,
which according to KPK was hired by Monsanto to lobby
the Indonesian government for legislation and ministerial
decrees supporting the development of GM crops.
However, Nabiel claims that he has no knowledge of Monsanto
paying bribes to employees of the environment ministry.
January 6, 2005, Financial
Times as reported by CropChoice.com: Monsanto, the
agrochemical company, is to pay $1.5m in penalties to the US government
over a bribe paid in Indonesia in a bid to bypass controls on the
screening of new genetically modified cotton crops.
According to a criminal complaint by the Department of Justice
on Thursday under US anti-bribery laws, the company paid $50,000
to an unamed senior Indonesian environmental official in 2002, in
an unsuccesful bid to amend or repeal the requirement for the environmental
impact statement for new crop varieties.
The cash payment was delivered by a consultant working for the
company's Indonesian affiliate, but was approved by a senior Monsanto
official based in the US, and disguised as consultants fees.
The company also admitted that it had paid over $700,000 in bribes
to various officials in Indonesia between 1997 and 2002, financed
through improper accounting of its pesticide sales in Indonesia.
As part of the agreement with the DoJ and the Securities and Exchange
Commission, Monsanto has also pledged to appoint independent consultants
to review its business practices over a three year period, when
the criminal charges against it would be dropped permanently by
Christopher Wray, assistant US attorney general, said in a statement
that the agreement required Monsanto's full cooperation and acceptance
of responsibility for the wrong-doing. "Companies cannot bribe
their way into favorable treatment by foreign officials," he
Monsanto's general counsel Charles Burson said that "Monsanto
accepts full responsibility for these improper activities, and we
sincerely regret that people working on behalf of Monsanto engaged
in such behavior".
Monsanto said it had first become aware of financial irregularities
in its Indonesian affiliates in 2001, and had begin an an internal
investigation, which continued at the direction of its board of
The company also said it had voluntarily notified US government
officials of the results of this investigation, and had fully cooperated
with the investigations by the DoJ and the Securities and Exchange
The attempt to circumvent environmental controls on genetically-modified
crops in a developing country is a significant embarrasment for
Monsanto, which is engaged in an ongoing campaign to win public
support in the European Union for its genetically modified crops.