* Rep. Cummings, Waxman send letter to Wal-Mart CEO Duke
* Say launching investigation after New York Time article
* Article alleged widespread bribery by Mexico unit Walmex
* Lawmakers seek interviews with current, former executives
April 23 Two Democratic U.S. lawmakers on Monday
said they were launching an investigation into allegations of
bribery at Wal-Mart Stores Inc's Mexican affiliate.
Representative Elijah Cummings, top Democrat on the House
Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Representative
Henry Waxman, top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce
Committee, sent a letter to Wal-Mart Chief Executive Mike Duke,
requesting an in-person meeting with company officials.
The lawmakers also said they are contacting former Wal-Mart
executives who may have documents or information relevant to a
The New York Times this weekend reported that the world's
largest retailer stymied an internal probe into bribery at its
Mexican affiliate -- Wal-Mart de Mexico (Walmex) --
in the middle of the last decade.
The allegations, if true, could be violations of the Foreign
Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), a U.S. law that forbids the
payment of bribes to foreign government officials.
Cummings and Waxman said the New York Times report "raises
significant questions about the actions of top company officials
in the United States who reportedly tried to disregard
substantial evidence of abuse."
The lawmakers told Duke that they wanted a meeting no later
than April 27 with company officials who can respond to the
They said they were also contacting Joseph Lewis, Wal-Mart's
former director of corporate investigations; Maritza Munich, the
former General Counsel of Wal-Mart International; and Sergio
Cicero Zapata, a former executive in Wal-Mart de Mexico's real
According to the New York Times, current CEO Duke and former
CEO Lee Scott were among senior executives allegedly aware of
suspicions of bribery in Mexico as Wal-Mart aggressively built
its business in the country.
"The allegations that Wal-Mart officials in Mexico may have
broken U.S. laws by bribing officials to get their stores built
faster raise serious concerns. But I am even more alarmed by
reports that top company executives in the U.S. tried to
cover-up these abuses," Cummings said in a statement.
Separately, lawmakers in Mexico called on authorities to
investigate the bribery allegations.