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Wal-Mart (WMT) CEO Aware Of Mexico Bribery, Lawmakers Say

 January 10, 2013 01:16 PM

(By Balachander) Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) Chief Executive Officer Michael Duke was informed of bribery allegations related to the retailer's Mexican unit as early as 2005, two U.S. lawmakers said.

Internal company documents appear to show that Duke and senior Wal-Mart executives had specific knowledge as early as 2005 about the bribery allegations associated with Wal-Mart's controversial store in Teotihuacan, Mexico, the lawmakers wrote in a letter to Duke. 

The documents contradict the company's claims that senior executives had no knowledge of these allegations, Democratic Representatives Henry Waxman of California and Elijah Cummings of Maryland said in the letter.

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Cummings and Waxman said "documents obtained by our staffs from a confidential source indicate that you and other senior Wal-Mart officials were personally informed about these bribery allegations on multiple occasions."

These documents and e-mails call into question your company's statement that "[n]one of the associates we have interviewed, including people responsible for real estate projects in Mexico during this time period, recall any mention of bribery allegations related to this store." 

Cummings and Waxman requested that Duke explain his knowledge of the Teotihuacan bribery allegations by January 24, 2013.

"It would be a serious matter if the CEO of one of our nation's largest companies failed to address allegations of a bribery scheme," lawmakers said.

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WMT shares, which have been trading in the 52-week range of $57.18 to $77.60, shed 0.53 percent to trade at $68.21 on Thursday.

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