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Wal-Mart Close to Resolving Bribery Probe for $300M

(Tom Schoenberg – Bloomberg)

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is preparing to pay roughly $300 million to resolve a long-running U.S. investigation into allegations of bribery by its employees, according to people familiar with the matter.

The deal, which the people said was being finalized and still could change, would amount to a significant concession by the U.S. government. The Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission had sought at least twice that amount as recently as last year as they investigated bribery allegations linked to Wal-Mart’s business in countries including Mexico, China and India. The proposed penalty could be easily absorbed by the world’s largest retailer.

The proposed resolution would require a guilty plea by at least one Wal-Mart subsidiary, said the people, who discussed details of the confidential negotiation on the condition of anonymity.

The parent company wouldn’t be charged, the people said. Instead, they said, it would enter into a non-prosecution agreement with the Justice Department and install an independent monitor to supervise the company’s compliance with the settlement. Click here to read more.