Reps. Pressure Wal-Mart in Bribery Case

WASHINGTON — Top executives at Wal-Mart Stores [3] knew of bribery allegations regarding a controversial store it built in Teotihuacan, Mexico, as far back as 2005, two U.S. Representatives here said Thursday.

U.S. Reps. Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md., and Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif., said they have obtained documents including memos and email correspondence from a confidential source indicating that Mike Duke, Wal-Mart’s chief executive officer, and other senior Wal-Mart executives “were personally informed about these bribery allegations on multiple occasions,” which they said contradicted the retailer’s prior claims.

Wal-Mart according to published reports said Thursday it has already provided the same documents to federal investigators.

In a letter to Duke, the representatives cited several documents, including an email from Maritza Munich, then general counsel of Wal-Mart International, to Duke and other senior Wal-Mart executives from November 2005 informing them about specific allegations relating to bribes paid to obtain permits for the Teotihuacan store, which according to a New York Times investigation was one of many stores in Mexico built behind bribes.

Wal-Mart launched its own investigation into its trade compliance practices following the publication of a Times article last year detailing bribery scandals at the Bentonville, Ark.-based company. The company said earlier this month that its investigation was continuing.

Read more: Wal-Mart Continues Bribery Investigation [4]

Reps. Cummings and Waxman in their letter to Duke requested that Duke explain his knowledge of the Teotihuacan bribery allegations by Jan. 24. They also requested that Wal-Mart authorize Munich to brief investigators.

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