Wal-Mart Launches Global Corruption Probe

The investigation 'is currently focused on discrete incidents in specific areas.'

Wal-Mart said on Dec. 8 that said it has initiated a global investigation into possible acts of corruption by employees that would violate U.S. laws that ban bribery overseas.

The company made the information public in a report to the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission (SEC). Wal-Mart also said that it had contacted the Justice Department concerning their probe.

"Over the last few years we have regularly implemented a series of changes to our U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) compliance programs to make them even more effective," Wal-Mart spokesman David Tovar said. Any individual or entity found guilty of violating the FCPA is subject to prosecution in the United States. "As part of that effort, earlier this year, we initiated a worldwide review of our anti-corruption programs."

Following information "obtained during that review and from other sources, we have begun an internal investigation related to compliance with the FCPA."

The company investigation "is currently focused on discrete incidents in specific areas. We intend to keep federal authorities appraised of what we learn," Tovar said.

The statement said Wal-Mart had "decided it was appropriate to disclose the internal investigation to our shareholders."

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011

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