* Indiana pension fund wants unredacted records
* Fund says redactions are "unjustified"
* Says whistleblower documents confirm NYT report
By Nate Raymond
Aug 16 An Indiana union pension fund that owns
shares in Wal-Mart Stores Inc has sued the company to
gain access to thousands of internal documents related to
allegations that a Wal-Mart subsidiary bribed Mexican government
The complaint is the latest challenge to Wal-Mart following
a report by The New York Times in April that said Wal-Mart had
found evidence its Mexican subsidiary, Wal-Mart de Mexico,
allegedly paid bribes to facilitate the awarding of store
permits. The paper at the time reported the company's corporate
headquarters stifled an internal probe into the allegations.
Investors in light of the Times' article sued Wal-Mart and
its board of directors in Delaware's Court of Chancery. The
lawsuits accused the company's officers and directors of
breaching their fiduciary duties to Wal-Mart and its
The latest lawsuit, also filed in the Delaware Court of
Chancery, said the company had made a "woefully deficient"
production of documents following an earlier out-of-court
demand. What documents were produced were "so heavily redacted,"
or blacked out, they were nearly worthless, the pension fund
The complaint, made public Thursday, is itself redacted.
Wal-Mart was given three days to redact the complaint, which was
"Wal-Mart's overuse of redactions is unjustified," the
Indiana Electrical Workers Pension Trust Fund IBEW said in the
The lawsuit also said an unidentified whistleblower had
mailed documents to the fund's lawyers "substantiating numerous
facts" in the Times' article related to bribes paid by Wal-Mart
de Mexico, or WalMex.
The whistleblower's documents include e-mails from
individuals involved in a 2005-2006 internal investigation at
Wal-Mart, the complaint said.
Officials at Wal-Mart did not respond to a request for
comment after normal business hours.
Wal-Mart, which is engaged in an internal investigation,
has said it is cooperating with the U.S. Department of Justice
and the Securities and Exchange Commission in their own probes.
"Walmart has produced thousands of pages of documents, in
compliance with the Delaware rules," Theodore Boutrous, a lawyer
for Wal-Mart, said in a statement. "We will respond to this
complaint in due course."
Anticipation for the Indiana union pension fund's complaint
had mounted after Delaware Chancellor Leo Strine, the court's
top judge, declined in July to name two other pension fund
shareholders as lead plaintiffs in the consolidated litigation.
Strine at the time criticized those funds, the California
State Teachers' Retirement System and New York City's public
pension funds, for basing their lawsuits on The New York Times
report rather than conducting their own investigations.
The judge at the time noted the Indiana fund had, by
contrast, demanded that Wal-Mart's board provide it access to
the company's books and records.
But the Indiana fund, which is the pension fund for the
local arm of the International Brotherhood of Electrical
Workers, said in its complaint that nearly half of 3,474 pages
of documents Wal-Mart produced in response to its demand were
entirely blacked out.
The lawsuit seeks an order requiring Wal-Mart to permit
inspection and copying of all of the books and records the
The case is Indiana Electrical Workers Pension Trust Fund
IBEW v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Delaware Court of Chancery, C.A.