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SEC Probes Benefits to Tyson Foods' Executives

March 30, 2004|From Associated Press

Tyson Foods Inc., the world's largest meat producer, said Monday that regulators were conducting a formal investigation of benefits received by some board members and company executives.

The Securities and Exchange Commission was "seeking information primarily with respect to the disclosure of perquisites provided to certain directors and officers of the company," including former Senior Chairman Don Tyson and current Chairman and Chief Executive John Tyson, Springdale, Ark.-based Tyson Foods said.

The company said it was fully cooperating with the SEC probe.

Tyson noted in its annual proxy statement that it regularly engages in transactions with company executives and board members. The filing goes on to list millions of dollars in business the company does with Tyson executives, including farm operations, an aircraft lease agreement with Tyson family members and a $5.35-million wastewater treatment agreement with an entity in which Don Tyson is a principal.

Spokesman Ed Nicholson said Monday that he could not elaborate on the company's statement.

Tyson Foods said the board's independent members reviewed the issue and, based on their report, the company "does not believe that the amounts involved are material to the company's financial position or results of operations."

Separately, Tyson Foods is challenging an order by the Internal Revenue Service that it pay $12 million in additional taxes. The company has said that most of the claim is related to the way Tyson valued chicken inventories.

Tyson shares fell 49 cents, or nearly 3%, to $17.58 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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