Walmart Reels From Bribery Charges
While Walmart continues to deal the charges that it attempted to halt an inquiry into bribery charges in relations to it’s Mexican operations, Wall Street showed that it has it’s own concerns with the mega-retailer.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc shares fell 4.7 percent in early trading on concerns that an investigation into allegations of bribery at its Mexican affiliate and how those allegations were handled by top management could be costly to the company and hinder attempts to expand.
Over the weekend, news of the bribery allegations came to light.
The New York Times this weekend reported that the world’s largest retailer stymied an internal probe into bribery at its Mexican affiliate, in the middle of the last decade. The allegations if true could be violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), a U.S. law that forbids the payment of bribes to foreign government officials.
Walmart officials have been on the counter-defensive, boasting that they’ve been open about the charges and the investigation. But critics say that it’s too little too late.
Wal-Mart said it had disclosed its probe to the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company also said it had taken steps at the Mexican unit, which is widely known as Walmex, to boost internal controls to make sure it was FCPA compliant.
But the New York Times said the disclosure only came after it informed Wal-Mart that it was looking into the bribery allegations, years after the bribes were said to have been brought to management’s attention.