Ex-ADM Exec Hired as CEO of Chicago Firm : Biotechnology: Fired official who worked as U.S. informant lands at Future Health.

From Times Wire Services

Mark Whitacre, a former Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. executive who is helping the government investigate the company, has been hired as chief executive of Future Health Technologies, a start-up biotechnology firm.

Whitacre began work Oct. 1 as chief executive based in the company's metropolitan Chicago office. He said the company also has offices in New York and China, where clinical testing is already under way for its technology.

Future Health is preparing patent applications for its technology, he said. The company won't discuss the technology publicly until after applying for patents, Whitacre said.

The company intends to raise operating capital with a private placement in February or March of next year, he said.

Whitacre was fired as head of ADM's bioproducts unit in August after the company accused him of embezzling $9 million. The allegation came after ADM learned he'd spent three years as an informant for the Justice Department's antitrust division.

Whitacre has agreed to plead guilty to charges relating to income tax evasion and defrauding ADM shareholders. The Justice Department has said it has no plea arrangement with Whitacre.

The former ADM executive has denied the company's embezzling allegation, insisting all payments he received were authorized by his superiors.

The Justice Department's antitrust division is investigating allegations that ADM and other companies colluded to fix prices for high-fructose corn syrup, lysine and citric acid in hearings before grand juries in Atlanta, Chicago and San Francisco, respectively.

A grand jury in Washington, D.C., is also investigating whether the Decatur, Ill.-based company made secret, illegal payments to a number of executives in violation of tax and securities laws.

ADM is also under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission for allegedly making payments to company executives that weren't disclosed to shareholders.

The SEC divulged the investigation in a letter responding to a Freedom of Information Act request by USA Today, the newspaper reported Monday.

Thomas C. Newkirk, associate director of the SEC's division of enforcement, declined to comment. The SEC, which was created in 1934 to protect the investing public, usually keeps its investigations secret unless there are charges, a suit or a settlement.

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