US retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has begun inquiring into alleged violations of the American Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) at its operations in India.
The new probes come as the US department of justice and the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigate allegations that Wal-Mart systematically bribed Mexican officials so it could more quickly open stores in the country.
Wal-Mart is making similar inquiries in Brazil and China, widening its probe into the bribery allegations in Mexico. Bloomberg first reported this.
In India, Wal-Mart operates wholesale stores in a joint venture with Bharti Enterprises Ltd. Bharti Walmart Pvt. Ltd, established in 2008, operates 20 stores in the country.
An India spokesperson for Wal-Mart confirmed the latest development.
“We take compliance with the FCPA very seriously and are committed to having a strong and effective global compliance programme in every country in which we operate. We are working diligently to strengthen our compliance programs and dedicating considerable resources to this effort,” the spokesperson said in response to an emailed query. “We will not tolerate non-compliance anywhere or at any level of the company.”
Wal-Mart declined to comment further on the matter.
Bloomberg reported that the FCPA board’s audit committee and Wal-Mart identified or became aware of possible violations since starting a global review of its compliance programmes. Wal-Mart said this in a filing with the US SEC. Several of Wal-Mart’s shareholders have filed lawsuits against the firm, current and former directors and officers, and past and present officers of the Mexican unit.
The retailer said it earned $3.64 billion in the third quarter ended 31 October, up from $3.34 billion a year earlier.
Suneera Tandon contributed to this story.