THE AMERICAN agrochemical and biotechnological company Monsanto has been fined $1.5m (£799,000) for bribing an Indonesian government official, Reuters reports.

Monsanto admitted that an employee had made an illegal payment of $55,000 to a senior official in Indonesia‘s Ministry of the Environment in 2002.

The bribe was made in an attempt to avoid environmental impact studies being conducted on a GM cotton that the company was attempting to introduce in Indonesia.

The company agreed to pay the fine and said it accepted full responsibility and regretted that people working on its behalf engaged in such behaviour.

Monsanto also agreed to three years‘ close monitoring of its business practices by the American authorities, according to the BBC.

The settlement was reached with the US Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

According to Reuters, the SEC charges also included at least $700,000 of “illegal or questionable payments made to at least 140 current or former Indonesian government officials and their members”.