Wal-Mart Stores Inc says it has taken a number of “specific, concrete actions” to investigate bribery allegations and strengthen its global FCPA compliance processes and procedures around the world and in Bentonville and Mexico.
The company has seen over $10 billion wiped off its share market value following reporting by The New York Times about millions in bribes to secure permits and approvals to build new stores in Mexico. Told of this evidence in 2005, top Wal-Mart executives in Bentonville, Ark., shut down the investigation, The Times reported.
Walmart Vice President, Corporate Communications, David Tovar, said it was important to keep a few things in context.
“The allegations in The New York Times story about the decisions made in Bentonville are more than six years old.
“Six months ago, we launched an aggressive investigation under the auspices and supervision of the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors into the issues contained in the article. We are working quickly to determine what happened and are committed to getting to the bottom of this matter.
“We are continuing to cooperate with federal law enforcement authorities,” he said.
Walmart has been working diligently on U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) compliance and has a rigorous process in place to quickly and aggressively manage issues like this when they arise, Mr Tovar said.
“In the last year, we have taken a number of specific, concrete actions to investigate this matter and strengthen our global FCPA compliance processes and procedures around the world and in Bentonville and Mexico.
“In Bentonville, we have added a series of new escalation and review protocols to ensure FCPA investigations are managed consistently and independently. This ensures investigations are conducted rigorously and the findings are appropriately addressed,” he said.
If found to be in breach of the law, Wal-Mart would likely be given large fines by both the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to experts in the field.
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