It has been reported that Walmart more than likely will not face criminal charges in connection with allegations that the company bribed officials in Mexico. It was announced on Monday by two congressmen that an investigation was started involving Walmart’s Mexican subsidiary, Wal Mart de Mexico. The investigation is centered on whether or not the company paid $24 million in bribes to local officials so the company could acquire permits more quickly in an effort for the company to dominate the market in Mexico. Executives working at the company’s headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas decided to ignore the allegations instead of performing an internal investigation into the matter.
It is illegal to bribe foreign officials under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. According to the law, both the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission are permitted to file civil cases against individuals and companies. The Department of Justice is permitted to file criminal cases as well. Since 2008, the Department of Justice has acquired over $3 billion in fines from multinational corporations. Since 2010, 29 out of 32 cases issued by the Justice Department were resolved without prosecution or with a deferred-prosecution agreement.
It is still way too early to guess what types of cases will be filed against Walmart and its executives, if any are filed, but an internal investigation led by an outside firm has been started. In an SEC filing back in December the company said that it began a voluntary review of its global anti-corruption program.