Washington - Lawyers for Walmart Stores have flagged Brazil,
China, India and South Africa in addition to Mexico as countries that
represent the highest corruption risk in a global review, according to a letter
from lawmakers investigating the company.
The lawyers said they first reviewed Walmart policies in
Mexico, Brazil and China, and later recommended the company also evaluate its
operations in India and South Africa.
The lawyers referred to those five
countries as regions where the risk was the greatest, according to the
The company has acknowledged it is investigating bribery
allegations involving its Mexican operations, and that it initiated a
worldwide review of its anti-corruption compliance programme in March 2011,
but has not provided details about the review.
According to the letter from representatives Elijah
Cummings and Henry Waxman, both Democrats, Walmart continued to review its
anti-corruption policies in other countries.
The review led Walmart to revise its programme to include a
new procedure for escalating corruption complaints to senior management and the
board's audit committee, the letter said.
Cummings and Waxman, who are the ranking members,
respectively, of the House Oversight and House Energy committees, asked the
company on Tuesday to provide documents about the review and the
The pair wrote to Walmart chief executive Michael Duke and
also asked him to allow certain witnesses to cooperate with a congressional
investigation into the bribery allegations.
"We are cooperating with the ongoing federal
investigations, and as appropriate, will also continue to assist members of
Congress and their staffs in understanding our efforts to address FCPA
issues," Walmart spokesperson David Tovar said in a statement.
Outside lawyers for Walmart at two law firms, Greenberg
Traurig and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, briefed the lawmakers on May 21
about the company's programme to comply with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act,
a 1970s-era law that bars bribes to officials of foreign governments.
But the lawyers did not answer any questions about the
substance of the bribery allegations, which were brought to light in an April
21 New York Times report that said management at Walmart de Mexico
orchestrated bribes of $24m to help it grow quickly in the last decade, and that
Walmart's top brass tried to cover it up.
The two lawmakers have previously expressed frustration
about the information they have received from Walmart.
While Walmart has tapped the brakes on its growth in Brazil
and China, last month Walmart International CEO Doug McMillon said the slowdown
was not a result of foreign bribery concerns.
Lawyers for Walmart are scheduled to brief Congressional
investigators on Wednesday about the "investigative protocols" the
company is using to examine bribery allegations in Mexico, according to the