– Lawmakers suspect money laundering issues at Wal-Mart (Reuters, Aug 14, 2012):
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two U.S. House Democrats investigating bribery allegations in Wal-Mart’s Mexico affiliate said on Tuesday they have obtained new internal records that may point to evidence of tax evasion and money laundering.
Reps. Elijah Cummings and Henry Waxman, who are the ranking members, respectively, of the House Oversight and House Energy committees, disclosed the latest details of their probe in an August 14 letter to the company.
“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,” the lawmakers wrote in their letter to Wal-Mart Chief Executive Michael Duke.
A company spokesman had no immediate comment.
Cummings and Waxman launched their own review of Wal-Mart earlier this year after The New York Times reported that the world’s largest retailer had intentionally stifled an internal probe into bribery in its Mexican affiliate, Wal-Mart de Mexico.
The company has said it is cooperating with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission as it conducts its own review.
The two Democrats complained on Tuesday that Wal-Mart has been uncooperative with the congressional probe.
They gave the company one last chance to turn over documents and give them access to witnesses before they release an investigative report.
Wal-Mart has provided them with several briefings on its anti-corruption compliance program, but has declined to provide details of investigation because it is still ongoing.
It is unclear how many details the lawmakers’ investigative report may contain.
“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,” Cummings and Waxman wrote.
“Your actions are preventing us from assessing the thoroughness of your internal investigation and from identifying potential remedial actions.”