Wal-Mart reported in a regulatory filing on May 17, 2012, that the scope of its investigation into bribery allegations in Mexico may widen beyond its Mexican subsidiaries. The filing stated that Wal-Mart is investigating possible FCPA violations, as well as “other alleged crimes or misconduct in connection with foreign subsidiaries, including Wal-Mart de Mexico”. No subsidiaries other than the Mexican subsidiary were mentioned by name, however. The filing also confirmed that SEC and DOJ are both investigating Wal-Mart, and that various federal and local governmental agencies in Mexico are also looking into the matter.
Meanwhile two members of the US House of Representatives, Elijah E. Cummings and Henry A. Waxman, indicated that they had seen internal documents demonstrating that Wal-Mart’s former general counsel, prior to her resignation in 2006, had recommended that the company undertake a thorough investigation of the allegations coming out of Mexico. According to the New York Times, prior to the current investigation, in 2005, Sergio Cicero Zapata, an in-house lawyer for Wal-Mart in Mexico, had resigned and confessed to organizing years of payoffs to Mexican officials. Those allegations had led Wal-Mart to conduct a preliminary internal investigation, though the investigation was eventually concluded without disclosure to authorities, against the advice of outside counsel that an independent investigation take place, and against the internal investigators’ warning that there was “reasonable suspicion to believe that Mexican and US laws [had] been violated”.
Representatives Cummings and Waxman requested that Wal-Mart brief them on the allegations and that the former general counsel meet with them. Those meetings were in the process of being scheduled as of late May 2012.