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Shadow of Mexican bribery investigation hangs over Wal-Mart shareholder meeting

Fayetteville, Ark. - Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s annual shareholder meeting here this morning was, like its predecessors, raucous and star-studded. However, the investigation into whether the company violated U.S. law reverberated through the morning, with multiple references to the company's integrity and values.
Chairman Rob Walton, son of the late company founder Sam Walton, said: "Acting with integrity is not a negotiable part of our business. We will do the right thing and the right way."
President and ceo Mike Duke said the company is working to determine exactly what happened in the alleged Mexican bribery case and cover-up, adding: "We will take appropriate action when the investigation is complete."
When Wal-Mart was conducting an internal investigation in the alleged bribery in 2005, Duke was the head of the international division.
Federal authorities in the U.S. and Mexico reportedly began investing Wal-Mart after a New York Times investigative report alleged Wal-Mart de Mexico bribed authorities for permits that allowed the company to accelerate its store expansion in the country. According to the Times article, the Mexican division's financials were rigged to hide the bribes and when corporate officers in the U.S. looked into the matter, they attempted to whitewash it.

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