Wal-Mart CEO to Be Questioned in Mexican Bribery Lawsuit
A federal judge has ordered Wal-Mart Stores Inc. CEO Douglas McMillon to submit to questioning in a lawsuit by shareholders hoping to learn what he knows about suspected bribery by the world's largest retailer in Mexico. U.S. District Judge Susan Hickey in Fayetteville, Arkansas, said McMillon's "direct and personal involvement" in matters underlying a class-action lawsuit justified requiring him to sit for a deposition by the shareholders’ lawyers. McMillon had been president of Wal-Mart International during a period when shareholders led by a Michigan pension fund said the retailer concealed suspected bribery by its Wal-Mart de Mexico unit to government officials to speed up store openings.
Total Retail's Take: The investigation and subsequent lawsuit into Wal-Mart's activities in Mexico is like a bad dream that won't go away for the company. Last week we reported that Wal-Mart will be fined $300 million to settle the matter — on top of the estimated $840 million it spent on its own internal investigation. However, after five years, the fallout from the investigation continues. Wal-Mart CEO Doug McMillon will now be required to speak with lawyers representing company shareholders in the class-action suit. At a time when Wal-Mart is generating momentum, both in-store and online, the investigation into its dealings in Mexico is weighing on it like an anchor. The sooner Wal-Mart can put this issue behind it, the better for the company.