By Aruna Viswanatha and Devlin Barrett / Wall Street Journal
A high-profile federal probe into allegations of widespread corruption at Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s operations in Mexico has found little in the way of major offenses, and is likely to result in a much smaller case than investigators first expected, according to people familiar with the probe.
The three-year investigation isn’t over, but most of the work has been completed, and it is possible the case could be resolved with a fine and no criminal charges leveled against individual Wal-Mart executives, these people said.
As part of the same investigation, investigators found evidence of bribery in India, centering on widespread but relatively small payments made to local officials there, the people said. Wal-Mart is likely to face U.S. foreign-bribery charges under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act over those payments, they said.
Wal-Mart spokesman Greg Hitt declined to discuss the particulars of the investigation, but said the company is “cooperating fully with the government in this matter.’’