A Delaware judge Friday dismissed a shareholder lawsuit against the directors of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. that alleged the directors failed to conduct a proper investigation into allegations of bribery in Mexico.
Entries in Delaware (14)
During the past month, I've been in London at the SCCE European initiative conference and last week at the Florida convention of the Health Care Compliance Association. The month has been an opportunity to gain some new perspective on the community of global compliance officers.
Walmart has not produced any of the files ordered released by the Delaware Supreme Court in its July 23 opinion. The Delaware case could be dismissed in a chain reaction involving a similar case in Walmart’s home state, Arkansas, before any files are produced.
Bank of America is paying $16.65 billion to settle fraud claims by federal and state enforcement agencies and regulators that relate back to the financial crisis of 2008. It's "the largest civil settlement with a single entity in American history," the DOJ said Thursday.
The veil of secrecy that the "old" Walmart drew over bribery allegations in Mexico since 2005 is falling apart. One reason is because the "new" Walmart has taken robust compliance initiatives and is more transparent. Another reason is because the Delaware Supreme Court is forcing the world's biggest retailer to open up about the past.
At oral argument Thursday in the Delaware Supreme Court, where Walmart is appealing a lower court order to produce internal FCPA investigation files to shareholders, one remarkable exchange indicated that the idea of revising the Caremark standards, which I talked about in my prior post, was squarely on the minds of the justices.
The Delaware Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on July 10 for the Walmart case that I discussed in a recent post on the FCPA Blog. The issue is whether the Walmart board, or certain directors, knew about the alleged bribery and cover up from 2006 until 2012. The court will decide what files should be disclosed or if the case should be dismissed.
A pending case -- largely ignored by the compliance profession and the press -- brings before the courts one of the most troubling issues of the Wal-Mart investigation: Was the Wal-Mart Board of Directors misled during 2005-2012 regarding an alleged Mexican bribery scheme and subsequent cover-up? If so, was that due to intentional misconduct by some directors or senior executives reporting to the Board who either participated in or knew about the purported scheme?
The International Anti-Corruption Academy's Wittgenstein Villa reminds us to use our time and freedom well. I'm thinking about Siemens (which helps fund the IACA). And I am wondering if an historic reckoning for Wal-Mart could have positive consequences for all compliance officers and the global public.
Wal-Mart's expenses for FCPA investigations and its global compliance program were $282 million for the past fiscal year and $157 million for the year before.