Wal-Mart India under Scanner over Bribery Charges

TNI Bureau: While the government is keen to allow 51% FDI in retail in India, world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart, is investigating into the bribery charges. The recent development was criticised by the BJP and others after the allegations created a buzz that Wal-Mart had paid bribes in China, India and Brazil to expand business in these countries.

The BJP demanded a probe into the matter, saying more corruption would be reported in the coming days if the proposed FDI in retail would be allowed in India.

The Times in April had reported that Wal-Mart’s Mexican subsidiary had paid allegedly paid bribes seven years ago to build more retail stores. It was also alleged that Wal-Mart has spent $35 million on a compliance programme that began in spring 2011, and has more than 300 outside lawyers and accountants working on it, the company said. It has spent $99 million in nine months on the current investigation.

However, it was not clearly specified that the nature of bribery in these countries. Enforcement Directorate (ED) is already investigating allegations that Wal-Mart Stores violated foreign exchange rules when it invested $100 million into a domestic unit owned by its wholesale joint-venture partner.

The probe against Wal-Mart comes after an MP wrote to the Prime Minister alleging the violations of investment rules, and the complaint was subsequently passed from one government department to another.

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