Wal-Mart Creates FCPA Compliance Post

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores [1] here on Tuesday said it has created a new position at the company to oversee compliance with U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

The announcement came in the wake of allegations in a New York Times article outlining possible breaches of this law, which prohibits paying bribes to forieign officals, while the company was expanding rapidly in Mexico several years ago.

It was not clear whether Wal-Mart had named someone to fill the new global FCPA compliance officer position or whether it had just created the post. The person will have responsibility for compliance with the FCPA in all of Wal-Mart’s markets around the world and will oversee five FCPA compliance directors based in the international markets.

The company also said it has “established a dedicated FCPA compliance director in Mexico,” who reports to the new global FPCA compliance director.

Separately, published reports on Tuesday indicated that some of the payments outlined in the Times article might have been permissible under the law. An article in Forbes magazine noted that the FCPA allows companies to make “facilitating payments” that can influence the timing of permits, as long as the payments do not influence the government decision whether or not to grant the permit in the first place.