News Releases

Attorney General Griffin Collects $280,000 Fine Payment from Chinese State-Owned Syngenta Seeds, LLC

Griffin: ‘Syngenta must divest itself of the land it owns in Craighead County’

LITTLE ROCK – Attorney General Tim Griffin announced that Syngenta Seeds, LLC, has paid the $280,000 civil penalty imposed on the Chinese state-owned enterprise for violating Act 1046 of 2021 and issued the following statement:

“Because Syngenta is foreign owned—ultimately by the Chinese Communist Party—it was required to report its ownership of agricultural land to the Secretary of the Arkansas Department of Agriculture. It failed to timely do so—filing the report well after the deadline.

“Now Syngenta must divest itself of the land it owns in Craighead County. This serves as a warning to all other Chinese state-owned companies operating in Arkansas—I am investigating these types of properties throughout the state and will exercise all powers afforded to my office under the law. As a 27-year Army officer, I can state unequivocally that our concerns over Chinese interests in America’s strategic assets are well-founded and demand action.”

On October 17, Griffin ordered Syngenta to divest itself of the land it owns in Craighead County within two years pursuant to Act 636 of 2023, which bans prohibited entities—including Chinese state-owned enterprises—from owning agricultural land in Arkansas. On that same day, Griffin ordered Syngenta to pay a civil penalty of $280,000, which is twenty-five percent (25%) of the fair market value of the 160 acres in Craighead County.

About Attorney General Tim Griffin

Tim Griffin was sworn in as the 57th Attorney General of Arkansas on January 10, 2023, having previously served as the state’s 20th Lieutenant Governor from 2015-2023. From 2011-2015, Griffin served as the 24th representative of Arkansas’s Second Congressional District, where he served on the House Committee on Ways and Means, House Armed Services Committee, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, House Committee on Ethics and House Committee on the Judiciary while also serving as a Deputy Whip for the Majority.

Griffin has served as an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps for more than 27 years and currently holds the rank of colonel. In 2005, Griffin was mobilized to active duty as an Army prosecutor at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and served with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) in Mosul, Iraq.

He is currently serving as the Commander of the 2d Legal Operations Detachment in New Orleans, Louisiana. His previous assignments include serving as the Commander of the 134th Legal Operations Detachment at Fort Liberty (née Bragg), North Carolina, and as a Senior Legislative Advisor to the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness at the Pentagon. Griffin earned a master’s degree in strategic studies as a Distinguished Honor Graduate from the U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania.

Griffin also served as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, and Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of Political Affairs for President George W. Bush; Special Assistant to Assistant Attorney General Michael Chertoff, Criminal Division, U.S. Department of Justice; Special Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Arkansas; Senior Investigative Counsel, Government Reform and Oversight Committee, U.S. House of Representatives; and Associate Independent Counsel, Office of Independent Counsel David M. Barrett, In re: HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros.

Griffin is a graduate of Magnolia High School, Hendrix College in Conway, and Tulane Law School in New Orleans. He attended graduate school at Oxford University. He is admitted to practice law in Arkansas (active) and Louisiana (inactive). Griffin attends Immanuel Baptist Church and lives in Little Rock with his wife, Elizabeth, a Camden native, and their three children.