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House Members Suspect Wal-Mart of Money Laundering
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On Tuesday, two U.S. House Democrats who are investigating the bribery allegations in Wal-Mart’s Mexico scandal said that new internal records have been found which may point to evidence of tax evasion and money laundering. Reps. Elijah Cummings and Henry Waxman, members of the House Oversight and Hose Energy committees, disclosed the latest details in an Aug 14 letter to the company.

In the letter addressed to Wal-Mart Chief Executive Michael Duke, the lawmakers observed “We have obtained internal company documents, including internal audit reports, from other sources suggesting that Wal-Mart may have had compliance issues relating not only to bribery, but also to ‘questionable financial behavior’ including tax evasion and money laundering in Mexico.”

A Wal-Mart spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan, said the company is conducting a “thorough and independent investigation into allegations relating to corporate conduct.” Buchanan said, “We are committed to having a strong and effective global compliance program, which includes anti-corruption, in every country in which we operate.”

  
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Earlier this year, after the New York Times reported that Wal-Mart had intentionally muffled an internal probe into briber in its Mexican affiliate, the lawmakers launched their own review of the matter. On Tuesday, both Democrats alleged that Wal-Mart has so far been uncooperative with the congressional probe.

In the letter addressed to the Wal-Mart Chief Executive, the lawmakers provided a last chance to the company to turn over documents and provide access to witnesses before they release an investigative report. Apparently, while Wal-Mart has provided the congressional probe with certain briefings on its anti-corruption compliance program, so far, the company has not provided certain details as it claims it has its own independent investigation going.

Further on Tuesday, the Wal-Mart spokeswoman said “We have already provided committee staff with two briefings, and we are exploring ways to make additional information available … We are committed to doing whatever we can to appropriately address their requests, consistent with the ongoing federal investigation.”

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But Cummings and Waxman wrote, “Although you have stated on multiple occasions that you intend to cooperate with our investigation, you have failed to provide the documents we requested, and you continue to deny us access to key witnesses … Your actions are preventing us from assessing the thoroughness of your internal investigation and from identifying potential remedial actions.”





 

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