'German pharmaceutical giant Bayer is hiring an outside law firm to review claims circulating in the French media that its seed firm, Monsanto, compiled illegal lists of influential journalists and lawmakers.
Bayer, who acquired the controversial agrochemical business last year, said on Sunday that the decision to commission the independent review came after its own internal investigation into the matter. It added that it understood the concerns raised over the week.
“This is not the way Bayer seeks dialogue with society and stakeholders. We apologize for this behavior,” the company said. However, it maintained that in the company's eyes, there was nothing illicit about the way such lists were compiled.
The complaint that Monsanto had illegally compiled a dossier of influential journalists, media publications, and politicians was initially made by the French daily, Le Monde. The paper said one of its journalists was among 200 names on the dossier, who would then be targeted by Monsanto lobbyists in a bid to sway their views on glyphosate-based herbicides. A complaint was then made to French police under the charge that the list of personal information was made “by fraudulent, unfair or illicit means.”
Bayer bosses facing shareholder reckoning over Monsanto deal as cancer lawsuits mount Bayer bosses facing shareholder reckoning over Monsanto deal as cancer lawsuits mount
Le Monde said the lists were seen by the paper and France 2 after being leaked by a source inside the St. Louis-based PR and lobbying firm, Fleishman-Hillard. Bayer initially told the paper that is was unable to “concretely identify the document,” now dubbed in the media as the ‘Monsanto file.’'
Read more: Bayer announces probe on ‘Monsanto file’ gathered to sway influential people on herbicides
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