Archer Daniels Midland Co , one of the world's top grain traders, is negotiating with the U.S. government to resolve possible violations of U.S. foreign bribery laws and could face penalties, according to the company.
ADM said in a quarterly report filed on Monday that it "initiated discussions" with the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission after recently completing an internal review of questionable transactions relating to grain and feed exports. The transactions may have violated the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and other U.S. and foreign laws, according to the company.
The Justice Department was not immediately available to comment and the SEC declined to comment.
ADM said it began an internal review of the transactions in August 2008. It voluntarily disclosed the review to the U.S. government and "certain foreign regulators" in March 2009, and has provided periodic updates to the agencies, according to the filing.
ADM declined to provide additional details on the possible violations, but said in a statement that it terminated employees as a result of the review.
"As soon as we became aware of some questionable transactions, ADM undertook a comprehensive internal investigation and retained an independent auditing firm to conduct its own review," a spokeswoman said in the statement.
ADM could face civil or criminal fines or be forced to give up any profits "derived from any contracts involving inappropriate payments," according to the filing.
The company said it had not yet recorded any liability for any assessments that might be imposed by government agencies "because the amount cannot be reasonably estimated." It added that the potential violations were not expected to have a "material impact" on the business.
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