Mon. Sep 23rd, 2019

Monsanto faces a probe over compiling lists of influential people for lobbying:Report

Islamabad: German pharmaceutical Bayer has announced investigation against Monsanto for compiling a list of 200 influential journalists and politicians to target by its lobbyists to sway their views on herbicides.

The Seed firm Monsanto is facing criticism of compiling illegal lists of 200 influential people to target by its lobbyists to win their support on herbicides.

French daily, Le Monde had claimed that one of its journalists was among 200 names on the dossier who was supposed to be targeted by Monsanto lobbyists to sway their views on glyphosate-based herbicides. A complaint had been lodged with French police alleging that the list of personal information was made “by fraudulent, unfair or illicit means.”

Le Monde said the lists were leaked by a source inside the St. Louis-based PR and lobbying firm, Fleishman-Hillard. According to media reports, German pharmaceutical giant Bayer who acquired the controversial agrochemical business last year, said it had decided to hire an outside law firm to review claims circulating in the French media about its seed firm, Monsanto that it compiled illegal lists of influential journalists and lawmakers.

 “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, German firm said according to media reports.

The investigation will add woes of a Bayer, who have witnessed their share value drop by almost 40 percent since it had taken over Monsanto. A US court had directed Monsanto to pay $289 million in compensation to a California groundskeeper as court ruled that he suffered a cancer by using Monsanto’s glyphosate-based weedkiller Roundup. The ruling has opened up Bayer to thousands of other legal cases and 11,000 other Roundup-linked suits are currently making their way through the US courts.

In April, a French court had also ruled that Monsanto was responsible for causing the neurological damages of a farmer, who accidentally inhaled fumes from its Lasso weedkiller in 2004. Arguing that the company gave insufficient warnings on its label, Paul Francois is seeking €1 million ($1.1 million) in damages. NT

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