Allegations of "intimidation tactics" in the grain market could spur a secret hearing with the head of the competition regulator as part of a Senate enquiry into the proposed $3 billion takeover of Australian grain handler GrainCorp by United States giant Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), according to The Australian Financial Review.
It is not clear if ADM is involved in the claims.
However, Liberal Senator Bill Heffernan, who is chairing the inquiry into the proposed GrainCorp sale, said that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission needed to probe allegations of “intimidation tactics” by a company in the grain market through the use of private investigators, the newspaper said.
He told ACCC head of mergers and acquisitions, Rose Webb, on Tuesday that a number of “disturbing issues” had to be dealt with privately, the AFR said.
Mr Heffernan said one of the investigators was now facing unrelated murder charges.
The takeover deal needs the approval of the Foreign Investment Review Board and GrainCorp shareholders, who have been advised to accept it by their board (see Tom Elliott's Selling GrainCorp into a sweeter bid).