June 12, 2012 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A group of New York City pension funds is suing current and former Wal-Mart executives over an alleged bribery scheme.
This is the latest of at least a dozen such lawsuits filed against Wal-Mart since The New York Times reported in late April that Wal-Mart's Mexican unit allegedly paid millions of dollars in bribes to win favors, the Associated Press reports. "Rooting out the directors and executives responsible for the current crisis would be a first step, but Wal-Mart also needs corporate governance reforms and an independent board that will protect outside shareholders and safeguard against another breakdown of internal controls," said Jon Liu, New York City Comptroller in a statement, according to the AP.
The New York City funds, as well as other public retirement systems across the country, voted their Wal-Mart company shares against five directors standing for re-election to the retailer’s board this month (see “NYC Pensions to Challenge Wal-Mart Board”). All members kept their seats.
The AP said the lawsuit names 27 current and former Wal-Mart executives including all its current board members, except Marissa Mayer, vice president for local, maps and location services at Google Inc., who was elected to the board for the first time this month. The suit also names Eduardo Castro-Wright, who is retiring this month as vice chairman but is not on the company's board. Castro-Wright led Wal-Mart's Mexico division at the time of the alleged bribery and when the probe began in 2005.