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Markey’s Herbalife Concerns ‘Carefully Considered’ by FTC

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Feb. 28 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. Senator Edward Markey’s concerns that Herbalife Ltd. may be a pyramid scheme are being “carefully considered” by the Federal Trade Commission, the agency’s chairwoman said.

Edith Ramirez, head of the agency, declined to comment on “what action, if any” the FTC may take against Herbalife, according to a letter sent to Markey and made public today by his office.

“I can assure you, however, that the information you provided and the concerns you expressed are being carefully considered,” Ramirez said.

Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, in January called for the FTC and the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate Herbalife, which hedge fund manager Bill Ackman has accused of being a pyramid scheme.

Markey spokeswoman Giselle Barry said the office hadn’t received a response yet from the SEC.

“I thank the FTC for replying to my letter, and I am currently reviewing its response,” Markey said in an e-mailed statement.

Herbalife has repeatedly denied Ackman’s claims. The company met privately with congressional staff members Feb. 21 to discuss its business practices.

A phone call to Herbalife spokeswoman Barbara Henderson wasn’t immediately returned.

To contact the reporter on this story: David McLaughlin in Washington at dmclaughlin9@bloomberg.net

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