Walmart Settles With Feds Over Bribery Investigations

After a seven-year investigation, Walmart has entered into a global settlement with the United States Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission regarding the company’s compliance with the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the retailer announced.

As part of the settlement the company agreed to a combined payment of $282.7 million, while, in accord, the federal agencies will end all FCPA-related investigations or inquiries into Walmart and its subsidiaries.

The agreement covers investigations into Walmart’s anti-corruption internal controls in Brazil, Mexico, India and China prior to April 2011. The company maintained that, under the direction of its Audit Committee, it had conducted a thorough internal investigation, cooperated with the DOJ and the SEC, and took extensive steps that have established a robust Global Anti-Corruption Compliance Program.

Over the past seven years, Walmart said it spent more than $900 million on FCPA inquiries and investigations, the Global Compliance Program and organizational enhancements. In resolving the issue, Walmart entered into a Non-Prosecution Agreement with the DOJ that states the department will not prosecute the company if, for a period of three years, it meets obligations set forth in the agreement.

Walmart has also agreed to an administrative order that resolves SEC findings related to violations of the FCPA’s books and records and internal controls provisions. In a related matter, WMT Brasilia S.a.r.l., an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Walmart, has entered a guilty plea in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia as part of the agreement with the DOJ for causing an FCPA books and records violation, the retailer noted

“We’re pleased to resolve this matter,” said Doug McMillon, Walmart president and CEO. “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.”