European grain trade under investigation
July 11, 2008
by Josh Sosland
BRUSSELS — The European Commission on July 10 conducted "unannounced inspections" at the offices of traders and distributors of grains and other agricultural products in "two member states." "The Commission has reason to believe that the companies concerned may have violated E.C. treaty rules on cartels and restrictive business practices," the commission said. The offices of Cargill and Bunge were among those under investigation. Francis de Rosa, a Cargill spokesman, confirmed that its offices in Italy were "visited" by representatives of the E.C. and Italian authorities. "We can confirm that our offices in Italy were visited by representatives from the European Commission and the Italian authorities today," Ms. de Rosa said. "We understand that the Commission is visiting a number of offices across the industry to gather various information. We have provided full co-operation and assistance to their representatives during their visits and will continue to provide whatever help they need." Bunge said its Rome office was one of apparently a number of sites visited by officials in relation to the investigation. "Bunge is dedicated to total respect and compliance with E.U. laws and will work in full and open cooperation with authorities," the company said.