* Lawmakers probing allegations of bribery in Wal-Mart's
* Wal-Mart also cooperating with DOJ, SEC on probe
* Lawmakers say internal records may show other compliance
* Records may point to money laundering, tax evasion issues
* Lawmakers give Wal-Mart one more chance to turn over
By Sarah N. Lynch and Aruna Viswanatha
WASHINGTON, Aug 14 Two U.S. House Democrats
investigating bribery allegations in Wal-Mart's Mexico affiliate
said on Tuesday they have obtained new internal records that may
point to evidence of tax evasion and money laundering.
Reps. Elijah Cummings and Henry Waxman, who are the ranking
members, respectively, of the House Oversight and House Energy
committees, disclosed the latest details of their probe in an
Aug. 14 letter to the company.
"We have obtained internal company documents, including
internal audit reports, from other sources suggesting that
Wal-Mart may have had compliance issues relating not only to
bribery, but also to 'questionable financial behavior' including
tax evasion and money laundering in Mexico," the lawmakers wrote
in their letter to Wal-Mart Chief Executive Michael Duke.
Brooke Buchanan, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman, said the company is
still conducting a "thorough and independent investigation into
allegations relating to corporate conduct."
"We are committed to having a strong and effective global
compliance program, which includes anti-corruption, in every
country in which we operate," Buchanan said.
Cummings and Waxman launched their own review of Wal-Mart
earlier this year after The New York Times reported that the
world's largest retailer had intentionally stifled an internal
probe into bribery in its Mexican affiliate, Wal-Mart de Mexico
The company has said it is cooperating with the U.S.
Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission
as it conducts its own review.
The two Democrats complained on Tuesday that Wal-Mart has
been uncooperative with the congressional probe.
They gave the company one last chance to turn over documents
and give them access to witnesses before they release an
Wal-Mart has provided them with several briefings on its
anti-corruption compliance program, but has declined to provide
certain details of investigation because it is still ongoing.
Buchanan said on Tuesday the company wants to provide
lawmakers with "whatever appropriate information" it can.
"We have already provided committee staff with two
briefings, and we are exploring ways to make additional
information available," Buchanan said. "We are committed to
doing whatever we can to appropriately address their requests,
consistent with the ongoing federal investigation."
It is unclear how many details the lawmakers' investigative
report may contain.
"Although you have stated on multiple occasions that you
intend to cooperate with our investigation, you have failed to
provide the documents we requested, and you continue to deny us
access to key witnesses," Cummings and Waxman wrote.
"Your actions are preventing us from assessing the
thoroughness of your internal investigation and from identifying
potential remedial actions."