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Bayer Says Monsanto Likely Kept Files on Influential People Across Europe

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Bayer said on Monday its Monsanto unit, which is being investigated by French prosecutors for compiling files of influential people such as journalists in France, likely did the same across Europe, suggesting a potentially wider problem.

French prosecutors said on Friday they had opened an inquiry after newspaper Le Monde filed a complaint alleging that Monsanto - acquired by Bayer for $63 billion last year - had kept a file of 200 names, including journalists and lawmakers in hopes of influencing positions on pesticides.

On Sunday, Bayer acknowledged the existence of the files, saying it does not believe any laws were broken but that it will ask an external law firm to investigate.

“It’s safe to say that other countries in Europe were affected by lists ... I assume that all EU member states could potentially be affected,” Matthias Berninger, Bayer’s head of public affairs and sustainability, told journalists on Monday.

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