Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT), the world’s largest retailer, created a new position to monitor global compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act as it investigates allegations of a bribery scandal in Mexico.
The officer will be based in the retailer’s headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, the company said today in a statement. That executive will oversee compliance directors in five global markets, including Mexico, the company said.
Wal-Mart is investigating allegations, raised by an April 21 New York Times story, that executives in Mexico paid more than $24 million in bribes to speed the retailer’s expansion there. The company also is the subject of a U.S. Justice Department criminal investigation, a person familiar with the probe said yesterday.
The audit committee of Wal-Mart’s board, which is made up entirely of independent directors, began investigating the allegations six months ago, before the article was published, and has hired legal advisers and forensic accountants to help, Wal-Mart said.
The company also is reviewing FCPA compliance and related policies and procedures in every country where it operates, David Tovar, a company spokesman, said in the statement. The company started that probe in March 2011 at the behest of Chief Executive Officer Mike Duke, Wal-Mart said.
“We are taking a deep look at our policies and procedures in every country in which we operate,” Tovar said.
Wal-Mart fell 2.1 percent to $58.31 at 1:55 p.m. in New York. The shares had declined 0.4 percent this year before today.
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