ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) – Walmart agreed on Thursday to pay $ 282 million to settle federal allegations of overseas corruption, including raising more than $ 500,000 for an intermediary in Brazil, known as a "sorceress" for her eerie abilities. to get building permit problems disappear.
The US authorities went after Walmart under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which bans US companies operating abroad, using bribes and other illegal methods.
The nation's largest store chain settled both civil charges from the Securities and Exchange Commission and a criminal case built by federal prosecutors in Virginia. It said the two settlements shut down the books of federal investigations that date back to 201
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"We are happy to resolve this issue," Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said in a statement. "Walmart is committed to doing business the right way, and that means acting ethically wherever we operate. We've improved our policies, procedures, and systems, and invested huge resources globally in ethics and compliance, and now has a strong global Anti-Corruption Agreement Program. "
In the criminal case, Walmart agreed to pay $ 138 million to avoid prosecution, while the Brazilian subsidiary, WMT Brasilia, claimed to be guilty of violating foreign corrupt practices. As for the civil case, the SEC announced a $ 144 million settlement against Walmart for "failure to run a sufficient anti-corruption program" in Brazil, China, India, and Mexico.
"Walmart appreciated international growth and cost-saving compliance," said Charles Cain, head of the SEC, monitoring FCPA violations. "The company could have avoided many of these problems, but instead Walmart has repeatedly failed to take red flags seriously and delayed the implementation of appropriate internal accounting controls."
Corruption practices targeting corruption that occurred in Brazil in 2009 and 2010, involving what the authorities said were offenders from the subsidiary that led the parent company to provide inaccurate accounts.
The money that went to the broker was recorded as payments to a construction company, although there were numerous red flags indicating that the intermediary was actually an official, the authorities said. Walmart Brazil became outdated at the time of hiring officials.
Court documents do not identify the intermediary, but say she became known within Walmart Brazil as a "sorceress" or "genius" for her "ability to acquire permissions quickly by" black
Walmart's foreign practice is has been examined since 2012. The New York Times won a Pulitzer Prize to report this year that they postponed millions of dollars in Walmart executives to ease the growth of Mexico.
According to the SEC, companies including Halliburton, Anheuser-Busch InBev, JPMorgan and Panasonic included settlements under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act from $ 6 million to $ 264 million in recent years. Last year, a Brazilian energy company decided to pay nearly $ 1.8 billion.
Bentonville, Arkansas-based Walmart, recently reported quarterly earnings of $ 3.84 billion. It announced last year that it decided to sell 80% of its stake in Walmart Brazil to Advent International with a loss of $ 4.5 billion. At that time, the subsidiary had 438 stores in Brazil.