Missouri, March 22, 2004 -- CropChoice news -- Carey
Gillam, Reuters: U.S. authorities have widened
an investigation into whether Monsanto engaged in improper
business dealings in Indonesia, the company said on
The new issue is whether a former outside consultant
to Monsanto made an improper $50,000 payment in early
2002 to an Indonesian government official at the direction
of a former Monsanto employee, the company said.
Both the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities
and Exchange Commission were already looking into issues
involving Monsanto's work in Indonesia.
"The DOJ has informed us that they are expanding
their particular inquiry," said Monsanto spokeswoman
Lori Fisher. "These are serious allegations and
we will continue to cooperate."
She said the employee involved has left the company,
but declined to provide further details.
Potential problems in Indonesia first surfaced when
the St. Louis-based agrochemical company disclosed to
regulators in November 2002 that an internal audit and
review by management had uncovered compliance irregularities
in Indonesia, where the company has been losing money
the last few years.
The company is one of the world's leading developers
of genetically modified seeds, but has had trouble getting
some of its biotech crops approved in foreign countries,
including a biotech cotton introduced in Indonesia in
Monsanto closed down the biotech cotton sales operations
in 2003 after two unsuccessful years that came amid
complaints over yields and pricing.
Today, the company's business in Indonesia is confined
to herbicide sales and conventional corn seed sales
and the country is a relatively small contributor to
Net combined revenue from Indonesian customers represents
only about 0.8 percent of total corporate revenue of
$5 billion, the company said.
Monsanto shares were down 1.6 percent at $33.69 on
the New York Stock Exchange on Monday afternoon.