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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Strategic CSR - Walmart

The article in the url below provides an update on the ongoing Walmart bribery investigation in Mexico:

Wal-Mart on [November 15] reported that its investigation into violations of a federal antibribery law had extended beyond Mexico to China, India and Brazil, some of the retailer’s most important international markets.

On the upside, at least Walmart disclosed the expanded investigation voluntarily this time, rather than being ‘encouraged’ by The New York Times (see: Strategic CSR – Walmart in Mexico). On the downside, however, the announcement of the expansion via regulatory filing suggests the extent of the FCPA violation is both serious and widespread throughout Walmart’s international operations:

A person with direct knowledge of the company’s internal investigation cautioned that [the] disclosure did not mean Wal-Mart had concluded it had paid bribes in China, India and Brazil. But it did indicate that the company had found enough evidence to justify concern about its business practices in the three countries — concerns that go beyond initial inquiries and that are serious enough that shareholders needed to be told.

The disclosure is more concerning in that, in recent years, Walmart has relied on international operations to drive growth throughout the firm. Both in terms of lost revenue and mounting costs, the full consequences of this investigation for Walmart are still far from clear:

Wal-Mart has so far spent $35 million on a compliance program that began in spring 2011, and has more than 300 outside lawyers and accountants working on it, the company said. It has spent $99 million in nine months on the current investigation.

Take care

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Wal-Mart Takes  Broader Look at Bribery Cases
By Stephanie Clifford & David Barstow
November 16, 2012
The New York Times
Late Edition – Final