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Wal-Mart close to settling with US prosecutors over bribery probe

  • Wal-Mart is reportedly prepared to pay roughly $300 million with U.S. prosecutors to settle an alleged bribery probe.
  • The settlement requires a guilty plea from one Wal-Mart subsidiary, but the world's largest retailer will not be charged, Bloomberg reported.
  • Wal-Mart has spent roughly $837 million on legal fees and internal investigations into the bribery reports and overhauling its ethics and compliance systems, according to its filings.
Susana Gonzalez | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Wal-Mart is reportedly prepared to pay roughly $300 million to settle a bribery probe by its employees in Mexico, India, and China, according to people familiar with the matter.

The deal, which has yet to be finalized, would be a significant concession for the U.S. government. The Justice Department and Securities Exchange Commission prosecutors sought at least twice that amount, but was rebuffed by the retail chain in October 2016, according to a Bloomberg report.

The settlement requires a guilty plea from one Wal-Mart subsidiary, but the world's largest retailer will not be charged. Instead, Wal-Mart will hire an independent monitor to make sure the company follows the settlement's requirements, sources close to the matter told Bloomberg.

The case gained traction after a series of articles by the New York Times in 2012 reported that Wal-Mart engaged in bribery and a potential cover-up by high-level executives in Mexico.

The world's largest grocery chain disclosed possible violations in Mexico to the Justice Department and SEC in November 2011, but the disclosure understated the severity of the infractions from the investigation, according to the report.

The company has spent roughly $837 million on legal fees and internal investigations into the bribery reports and overhauling its ethics and compliance systems, according to its filings.

Wal-Mart and representatives of the Justice Department and the SEC all declined to comment on the matter.

Read the entire Bloomberg report here.