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Bloomberg has a story about how Walmart remains locked in an eight-month standoff with the federal government over an investigation of allegations that the retailer greased the wheels of growth in foreign countries by bribing local officials.

According to the story, “The standoff leaves unfinished one of the biggest foreign-corruption probes of a U.S. company in history, a case that put a spotlight on the obscure Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. For six years, U.S. authorities have investigated whether Walmart bribed government officials in countries including Mexico, India and China over the course of a decade to fast-track store openings.

Walmart’s apparent resistance to a mea culpa isn’t the only obstacle to a deal. There’s also a delay with the Securities and Exchange Commission part of the case. The two sides have yet to exchange critical documents to finalize the deal, another person said. It’s unclear what’s causing the delay, the person said.” And there’s another wrinkle - the investigation started during the Obama administration, and the shift to the Trump administration has slowed things down even more.

The story notes that “in the closing days of the Obama administration -- as a future President Donald Trump was calling the foreign-corruption statute a ‘horrible law’ on the campaign trail -- Walmart balked at demands to pay more than $600 million in penalties, leading prosecutors to go back to gather more evidence from witnesses, people familiar with matter told Bloomberg in October 2016.”

Walmart reportedly has set aside nearly $300 million to cover whatever fines it has to pay. But to this point, it hasn’t had to write a check.
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