Wal-Mart to probe violation of US anti-corruption laws at its stores

Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the world's largest retailer, has launched an internal investigation into the possibility of some of its actions having violated US anti-corruption laws.
The company said in a regulatory filing today, it was probing permitting, licensing and inspections of stores, and disclosed the investigation to the US Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The filing was silent on where the actions in question took place. It added, the Bentonville-Arkansas based company had also hired legal counsel as also other advisers to assist in the probe.

''We cannot reasonably estimate the potential liability, if any, related to these matters,'' the filing said. ''However, 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 the investigation stemmed from information gleaned earlier this year, from an internal review of policies for its global anti-corruption compliance programme.

Wal-Mart was down 0.9 per cent to $57.98 today in New York.

Meanwhile, the retailer is having a jolly festive season, which means rival retailers would find the going tough this season.