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Forbes reports that Tom Coughlin, the former vice chairman of Wal-Mart and protégé of company founder Sam Walton who was convicted of tax evasion and .embezzling funds from the company, has amended an existing lawsuit against Wal-Mart to say that the company engaged in a “witch hunt” against him.

The suit specifically takes aim at Tom Mars, the retailer’s executive vice president and general counsel, saying that Mars “let his zeal to be a prosecutor blind him from a fair and impartial search for the truth … He allowed his desire to curry favor with the senior executives at Wal-Mart to turn an 'investigation' into a personal mission to destroy Mr. Coughlin."

The former Wal-Mart executive has long maintained that while he indeed siphon off gift cards and cash from the retailer, he was doing so as part of a company-sanctioned project to pay off informants who could help uncover unionization activities; Wal-Mart has said that no such project existed.

Coughlin, who pleaded guilty to the charges against him, is serving his 27-month sentence at home on his Arkansas ranch because his attorneys were able to convince the judge in the case that he was too ill to spend time in prison. He also had to pay a $400,000 fine and has pledged to do 1,500 hours of community service.

Wal-Mart issued the following statement in response to the Coughlin charges: "The allegations in Mr. Coughlin's amended counterclaim are simply not true. The facts are that Mr. Coughlin's conduct was fully investigated by the FBI, including his phony union story. Consequently, Mr. Coughlin pled guilty to felony wire fraud and felony tax evasion charges."

KC's View:
I have no idea if Coughlin is simply delusional, or if there is anything to his claims. I do know that he should thank his lucky stars that he isn’t actually in prison…

One other question. Wouldn’t Coughlin’s guilty plea to embezzlement and tax evasion charges be exhibit one in any defense of Wal-Mart’s position?