U.S. News

Butterball co-owner reportedly under investigation by Justice Department

Butterball turkeys are for sale at a grocery store in Omaha, Nebraska.
Eric Francis | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Seaboard, a Kansas-based company that owns a stake in Butterball turkeys, is being investigated by the Justice Department as part of a broader criminal probe of companies doing business with people named on the U.S. terrorist list, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The Justice Department is investigating whether Seaboard tried to conceal wheat-flour sales to firms linked to a Lebanese businessman and his brothers, who were put on the government's terror black list in 2009 and 2010, the newspaper said.

The brothers are suspected of giving millions of dollars to Hezbollah, the Shiite militant group backed by Iran, the paper reported.

Seaboard told the newspaper it would not intentionally do business with anyone on the list. However, it did note that it runs a flour mill in Gambia with Mohamed Bazzi, who started a business with two men who are now blacklisted by the U.S.

Bazzi told the Journal that once the first partner was placed on the list that "we all got away from him."

Seaboard continues to do business with Bazzi, who it noted is not on the terrorist watch list.

Shares of the company dipped more than 4 percent in midday trading following the report.

Companies face a range of penalties for working with anyone on the terrorist list, including fines and prison time.

A Seaboard spokesperson wasn't immediately available.

The Wall Street Journal has extensively reported on Seaboard's dealings abroad. Read the full article from the Journal here.