Walmart to pay more than $282 million to settle bribery investigations (WMT)

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  • Walmart has agreed to pay more than $282 million to settle bribery allegations brought by the US Securities and Exchange Commission and the US Department of Justice.
  • The SEC charged Walmart with “violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by failing to operate a sufficient anti-corruption compliance program for more than a decade as the retailer experienced rapid international growth,” the SEC said in a news release.
  • “We’re pleased to resolve this matter,” Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said in a statement. “Walmart is committed to doing business the right way, and that means acting ethically everywhere we operate.”

Walmart has agreed to pay more than $282 million to settle bribery investigations brought by two US government agencies, the US Securities and Exchange Commission said Thursday.

The SEC charged Walmart with “violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) by failing to operate a sufficient anti-corruption compliance program for more than a decade as the retailer experienced rapid international growth,” the SEC said in a news release.

Walmart allegedly “allowed subsidiaries in Brazil, China, India, and Mexico to employ third-party intermediaries who made payments to foreign government officials without reasonable assurances that they complied with the FCPA,” the release said.

The retailer will pay more than $144 million to settle the SEC charges and about $138 million to resolve criminal charges by the Justice Department, according to the release.

“Walmart valued international growth and cost-cutting over compliance,” Charles Cain, chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s FCPA Unit, said in a statement. “The company could have avoided many of these problems, but instead Walmart repeatedly failed to take red flags seriously and delayed the implementation of appropriate internal accounting controls.”

Walmart set aside $283 million in 2017 to pay for the resolution, so the amount will not materially impact the company’s financial results, Walmart said.

The company also said that it conducted an internal investigation under the direction of its Audit Committee and over the past seven years, spent more than $900 million on FCPA inquiries and investigations, its Global Compliance Program, and “organizational enhancements.”

“We’re pleased to resolve this matter,” Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said in a statement. “Walmart is committed to doing business the right way, and that means acting ethically everywhere we operate. We’ve enhanced our policies, procedures and systems and invested tremendous resources globally into ethics and compliance, and now have a strong Global Anti-Corruption Compliance Program. We want to be the most trusted retailer, and a key to this is maintaining our culture of integrity.”

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