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Wal-Mart investigating its overseas operations, SEC filing says

December 13, 2011 |  6:51 pm

Discount giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said its operations overseas may have violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a federal law dealing with bribery and accounting rules for American companies doing business abroad.

In a quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the world's largest retailer disclosed that it began an investigation prompted by information discovered from an internal review and "other sources."

The investigation is looking into whether some Wal-Mart dealings overseas, "including permitting, licensing and inspections," broke the law. The company said it has hired outside counsel, informed the U.S. Justice Department and SEC, and was implementing "remedial measures."

The retailer has stores in 28 countries around the world, and raked in $419 billion in sales for its 2011 fiscal year.

Wal-Mart disclosed few other details and did not specify what sparked the investigation.

"Based on the facts currently known, we do not believe that these matters will have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows," Wal-Mart said in the filing.


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-- Shan Li

Photo: Wal-Mart's logo is displayed in Springfield, Ill. Credit: Seth Perlman / Associated Press