(Reuters) - The U.S. securities regulator is probing farm machine maker Deere & Co <DE.N> for possible violations of a law that bars American companies from bribing foreign officials, the Wall Street Journal said citing two people familiar with the matter.
The company received an inquiry from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last month regarding payments made in Russia and nearby countries, one person told the WSJ.
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The probe is looking at whether the payments violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act -- a law that bars companies from paying bribes to foreign officials.
An SEC spokesman declined to comment the Journal.
In a statement to the Journal, Deere said the company received a voluntary request from the SEC on July 25 to produce documents relating to Deere's activities, as well as those of third parties, in "certain foreign countries."
"The SEC has informed Deere that this is a non-public fact-finding inquiry to determine whether there have been any violations of the federal securities laws, and that the inquiry and document request do not mean that the SEC has concluded that Deere has broken the law," the statement said.
Deere and SEC could not immediately be reached for comment by Reuters outside regular U.S. business hours.
(Reporting by Sakthi Prasad in Bangalore; Editing by Anshuman Daga)