Wal Mart is in negotiations to pay roughly $300 million to resolve a U.S. investigation into allegations of bribery relating to its operations and business in countries including Mexico, China and India. Wal-Mart’s latest annual report did not contain any legal reserve and said the company didn’t expect a settlement to have a material impact on its business. Representatives of the Justice Department and the SEC declined to comment but sources have been quoted in various news articles.
A deal with U.S. authorities would end Wal-Mart’s expensive legal troubles stemming from its efforts to expand rapidly abroad a decade ago. It would also allow the company to focus on improving profitability and its e-commerce business. Wal-Mart apparently refused demands last year to pay $600 million or more in penalties. Articles in the New York Times detailed alleged bribery and a cover-up by executives in Mexico. Wal-Mart disclosed possible violations in Mexico to the Justice Department and SEC in November 2011.