Wal-Mart Sued by Pension Plan Over Bribery Case
On Thursday, one of America's largest pension plans filed a lawsuit alleging Walmart's leadership breached its fiduciary duty with the bribery scandal involving Wal-Mex, the retailer's Mexican subsidiary. California State Teachers' Retirement System owns almost 5.3 million shares in Wal-Mart. The estimated value of those shares are $313 million.
At less than 1% of the total capitalization of the corporation, the lawsuit is filed on behalf of Wal-Mart against the people they allege breached their duties to the company. The lawsuit names the board of directors and many current and former executives as defendants. Derivative suits are common when high-level misdeeds occur, but CalSTRS is not usually the instigator.
This scandal erupted when an article published in the New York Times in April revealed that investigators for Wal-Mart had credible evidence that the Mexican subsidiary had bribed officials in Mexico and that executives at Wal-Mart had shuttered the investigator. This lawsuit is the first by a large and well-known institutional investor in the fallout from the scandal.
Companies in the United States are prohibited by law from bribing foreign officials under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. There are also investigations in Mexico concerning the scandal.