Letter challenges Walmart on bribery case

Jan. 10, 2013 at 3:53 PM   |   Comments

BENTONVILLE, Ark., Jan. 10 (UPI) -- Top Walmart executives may have contradicted themselves concerning when they became aware of bribery allegations in Mexico, leading House Democrats said.

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., and Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., ranking members, respectively, of the House Committee on Oversight, and the Committee on Energy and Commerce, said in a letter that they had emails which suggest company executives knew about allegations of bribery Mexico in November 2005, implying they knew of the bribery, but did nothing to stop it.

"It would be a serious matter if the chief executive officer of one of our nation's largest companies failed to address allegations of a bribery scheme," the letter from the representatives says.

The letter says the congressmen have an email from former Walmart general council for international affairs Maritza Munich that outlined the allegations for Walmart executives in November 2005, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

One of the recipients of the letter was Mike Duke, who was then the head of the retailer's international division and who is now the company's CEO, the Journal said.

The congressmen also said Walmart was not cooperating with an investigation looking into the bribery case that involves paying off Mexican officials to pave the way for a Walmart store to be built in Teotihuacan, Mexico, near the ruins of ancient pyramids.

Company spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan said in a statement Walmart was giving Congress "whatever appropriate information we can to help them." Walmart also said that comments executives made have been misinterpreted.

Comments made in December referred to what company executives knew before the store opened, which would be a time frame before 2004, the company said.

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