Wal-Mart’s PR Nightmare Gets a Little More Expensive
Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) executives are feeling the heat from an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice over possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Policies Act. Reuters reports that Wal-Mart is paying for lawyers for as many as 30 executives targeted by the DoJ over suspicion of bribery and other misconduct in Mexico, Brazil, China, and India.
Bribery allegations first materialized in 2012, when The New York Times published reports that detailed the financial incentives given to Mexican officials by the company’s affiliate, Wal-Mart de Mexico. One of the largest was a $52,000 bribe paid to change a zoning map so that the retailer could open a store located near ancient pyramids in Teotihuacan.
Earlier that year, Wal-Mart announced that it was “probable” it would incur losses as a result of the bribery probe. The company began its own investigation into the matter in November 2011, and an annual proxy statement revealed that these efforts cost approximately $157 million in 2012.
Now, sources told Reuters that the U.S. government has been questioning senior Wal-Mart executives, and the company has confirmed that it is covering legal expenses.