May 9, 2017 / 9:00 PM / a year ago

Wal-Mart close to settlement with U.S. over alleged bribery -report

CHICAGO, May 9 (Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc is preparing to pay about $300 million to settle a probe of bribery by its employees in markets including Mexico, India and China, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

The deal, which would mark a significant concession by the U.S. government, was being finalized and could change, the Bloomberg report said. In October 2016, Wal-Mart rebuffed a proposal by U.S. prosecutors to pay at least $600 million to settle the same corruption probe. Wal-Mart spokesman Greg Hitt declined to comment on the story. Last week , Wal-Mart told Reuters it was considering getting certified under a new international program that could help companies defend themselves against isolated cases of corruption or poor business practices.

The proposed resolution would require a guilty plea by at least one Wal-Mart subsidiary, but the parent company would not be charged, the report said.

The U.S. Department of Justice has been conducting a long-running investigation into potential misconduct by Wal-Mart in some overseas markets, including China, Brazil, India and Mexico.

Wal-Mart’s ethics and compliance system came into focus after the New York Times reported in 2012 that Wal-Mart had engaged in a multi-year bribery campaign to build its Wal-Mart de Mexico business.

So far Wal-Mart has spent more than $800 million on legal fees and an internal investigation into the alleged payments and to revamp its compliance systems around the world. (Reporting by Nandita Bose in Chicago; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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