GM WATCH comment: Monsanto achieved commercial approval of its GM cotton in Indonesia faster than in any other Asian country. The company was able to use this success, in commercialising its first GM crop in Asia, as a lever to promote GM crop commercialisation elsewhere in the continent. By December 2003, however, the Indonesian Minister of Agriculture had announced that Monsanto had pulled its GM cotton out of the country. Monsanto has left behind it a legacy of broken promises and illegality. READ ON
SEC Fines Ex-Monsanto Executive for Indonesian Bribe (Update3)
By David Scheer
Bloomberg, 7 March 2007
March 6 (Bloomberg) -- A former executive at Monsanto Co., the world's biggest developer of genetically modified crops, was fined $30,000 for bribing an Indonesian official in an unsuccessful bid to repeal an environmental rule, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said.
Charles M. Martin, Monsanto's former government affairs director in Asia, violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in 2002 when he told a consultant to pay a senior Indonesian environmental official $50,000, the SEC said today. Martin arranged to book the bribe as part of the consultant's fee.
Monsanto paid $1.5 million in settlements with the SEC and the U.S. Department of Justice in 2005 for the bribe and other questionable payments in Indonesia. The St. Louis-based company sought repeal of a rule requiring it to assess environmental impact before planting genetically modified cottonseed, the SEC said. Even after the bribe, the official didn*t change the law.
"The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act remains a significant part of our enforcement program, and we certainly intend to pursue not only entities but individuals," Christopher Conte, an SEC official overseeing the case, said in an interview.
In fining Monsanto in 2005, the SEC said the company's Indonesian affiliates also made at least $700,000 in illicit payments to at least 140 current and former Indonesian officials and their families. The payments were partially financed through unauthorized, improperly documented, and inflated sales of Monsanto's pesticide products in the country.
Martin neither admitted nor denied the accusations in agreeing to settle the SEC's civil lawsuit, filed at U.S. District Court in Washington today, the SEC said. His attorney, Richard Scheff in Philadelphia, didn't return a phone message seeking comment.
Monsanto resolved its part of the case more than two years ago, and today's action "is strictly between the individual and the SEC," company spokeswoman Lori Fisher said.
The case is SEC v. Martin, No. 07-CV-434, U.S. District Court, Washington D.C.
To contact the reporter on this story: David Scheer in Washington email@example.com
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