Walmex says it's unaware of laundering probe

Mexico's top retailer Wal-Mart de Mexico, known as Mexico's top retailer Wal-Mart de Mexico, known as Walmex, said on Wednesday it is not aware it is being investigated by authorities for money laundering or fiscal evasion. Photo Credit: Getty Images, 2007

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MEXICO CITY -- Mexico's top retailer Wal-Mart de Mexico said on Wednesday it is not aware it is being investigated for money laundering or fiscal evasion.

Two U.S. House Democrats investigating bribery allegations in Walmex, a unit of U.S. giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc, said on Tuesday they have obtained new internal records that may point to evidence of tax evasion and money laundering.

Congressmen Elijah Cummings and Henry Waxman, who are the ranking members, respectively, of the House Oversight and House Energy committees, disclosed the latest details of their probe in an Aug. 14 letter to the company.

"If such an investigation over these matters was initiated, and Walmex was notified, Walmex will cooperate with the authorities," the Mexican company said in a brief statement.

Cummings and Waxman launched their own review of Wal-Mart earlier this year after The New York Times reported that the world's largest retailer had intentionally stifled an internal probe into bribery in its Mexican affiliate Walmex.

The company has said it is cooperating with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission as it conducts its own review.

The two Democrats complained on Tuesday that Wal-Mart has been uncooperative with the congressional probe.

Walmex chief executive Scot Rank said on a call in July that as part of efforts to improve compliance with laws such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the company had hired a former Pricewaterhouse Coopers partner as head of compliance, real estate and corporate affairs.

Rank also said another executive would join in August with responsibility for anticorruption efforts, reporting directly to Walmart's global FCPA compliance officer Tom Gean.

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