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Walmart boosts internal controls
April 25th, 2012
BENTONVILLE, Ark. – Walmart has strengthened its internal controls, including creation of a new corruption watchdog position, in the wake of reports of a bribery scandal in its Mexican operations.
In related news, vice chairman Eduardo Castro-Wright, who was implicated in a New York Times article that detailed the bribery allegations, resigned from his position on the board of directors of MetLife.
The company has established the position of global FCPA (Foreign Corrupt Practices Act) compliance officer, overseeing five FCPA compliance directors based in different international markets, including Mexico. Tom Gean, a former U.S. attorney for the western district of Arkansas who has worked for Walmart since 2004, has been appointed to the position. According to a Reuters report, Gean was appointed to the position before the New York Times story broke on April 21, but after the newspaper had notified Walmart of its findings last December.
In an updated statement about the retailer’s response to the Times’ allegations, vice president of corporate communications David Tovar noted that Walmart had initiated a global review of its anticorruption program in March 2011, including the development and implementation of recommendations for FCPA training, anticorruption safeguards and internal controls.
"In Mexico we have taken a number of actions to establish stronger FCPA compliance," said Tovar. "We have implemented enhanced FCPA compliance measures including robust policies and procedures; internal controls; training; enhanced auditing procedures; and issue escalation and remediation protocols."
Walmart’s announcement came after the company’s stock price continued to decline for a second day, falling nearly 7% to $58.10 at 11 a.m. from its closing price of $62.45 per share on Friday, April 20.
MetLife revealed that Castro-Wright wrote that he was resigning due to "recent events that will require my immediate and personal attention."