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Bayer To Probe Secret List Of Monsanto Critics

Bayer (BAYZF.PK,BAYRY.PK,BYR.L) said it hired an external law firm to investigate its U.S. subsidiary Monsanto's stakeholder mapping project and reaffirmed its commitment to transparency and fair dealings with all stakeholders.

Bayer issued an apology after the French media alleged that lists of supportive and critical stakeholders drawn up by Monsanto in 2016 may have violated ethical principles and legal regulations.

Bayer noted that its initial analysis found that Monsanto's stakeholder mapping project has raised concerns and criticism.

"This is not the way Bayer seeks dialogue with society and stakeholders. We apologize for this behavior," Bayer said.

But, the company said currently it has no indication that the preparation of the lists under discussion violated any legal provisions. It will ask an external law firm to investigate the project Monsanto commissioned and evaluate the allegations. The law firm will also inform all of the persons on the lists of the information collected about them.

Bayer noted that it will fully support the French prosecutor's investigation.

Matthias Berninger, new Head of Public Affairs and Sustainability, will also assess the behavior of the involved internal and external parties. The company has decided to suspend its cooperation with the involved external service providers for the time being, Bayer said in a statement.

The responsible Monsanto manager left the company shortly after the acquisition. It is also currently investigating further appropriate consequences both internally and with regard to external parties, Bayer said.

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