PARIS (Reuters) – The French prosecutor on Friday said it had opened a preliminary investigation into a suspected file assembled by Bayer’s seed maker Monsanto to influence various personalities in France.

The probe was opened after a complaint was filed by daily newspaper Le Monde.

French media outlet “Le Monde” had access to a document drawn up at the end of 2016 by a lobbying firm for the American agrochemist Monsanto, in the middle of a debate on the renewal of the authorization of glyphosate.

Le Monde writes:

Two hundred names. Political leaders and officials, journalists, leaders of professional organizations and public organizations, and even scientists. Line after line, their identities and opinions on glyphosate, pesticides or GMOs are ginned in two carefully-tabulated tables.

This file, which Le Monde and France 2 obtained, comes from a leak of a major lobbying and public relations firm, Fleishman-Hillard, mandated by Monsanto to assist in its defense of glyphosate.

The penal code prohibits the constitution of any personal database “revealing the political and philosophical opinions of a person without his consent”: the question of the legality of this file is therefore clearly problematic.