BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Shares of Wal-Mart Stores fell about 4.6% Monday following the in-depth New York Times article detailing allegations of bribery and corruption in the company’s Mexican division and a cover-up at headquarters here.
The company warned about an internal investigation into potential violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in a quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Dec. 8, 2011, but did not specify what countries it was investigating.
“We cannot reasonably estimate the potential liability, if any, related to these matters,” Wal-Mart said in the filing. “However, based on the facts currently known, we do not believe that these matters will have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.”
Reports Monday indicated that the investigations could involve some of the Wal-Mart executives who were in place at that time (before 2005). Some of the executives cited in the Wal-Mart article as being aware of the practices in Mexico included Eduardo-Castro-Wright, who was head of the Mexico operations and is currently vice chairman of the company; Craig Herkert, who was chief executive officer of Wal-Mart in Latin America and is currently CEO of Supervalu; Michael Duke, who was CEO of Walmart International and is currently CEO of Wal-Mart Stores; and H. Lee Scott, who was CEO at the time and remains on the company’s board.
Wal-Mart’s response can be seen below.