Report on Wal-Mart violations awaited: FM

Nov 17 2012, 10:29 IST
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P Chidambaram P Chidambaram
SummaryP Chidambaram said that a formal report is yet to be presented to him.

A day after the enforcement directorate (ED) said that it will soon issue notices to US retail major Wal-Mart for alleged violation of forex laws of the country, finance minister P Chidambaram today said that a formal report is yet to be presented to him regarding the details of the investigation.

On Thursday, the ED had said it has received a communication from the central bank to probe the investments in Wal-Mart and notices seeking documents related to financial investments and remittances will be sent to the retailer soon.

“I have read in the paper that ED is investigating Wal-Mart. But unless, a formal report is made to me, which is not every day, I would not have the details of investigation,” he told reporters at a media briefing.

The agency, which has registered a case under the Foreign Exchange Management Act, will also ask the commerce and industry ministry to furnish it with clearances that were given to the company to route the investment in 2010 in a subsidiary of Bharti ventures via a Mauritian arm.

As such, the world’s largest retailer posted on its website Thursday that it is investigating allegations of corrupt practices against it in foreign markets, including India.

In March 2011, the US-based company had started a worldwide review of its policies, practices and internal controls for Foreign Corrupt Practices Act compliance.

“We have inquiries or investigations regarding allegations of potential FCPA violations in a number of foreign markets where we operate regarding FCPA allegations, including but not limited to Brazil, China and India. This is in addition to the ongoing investigation in Mexico,” the company said in the statement.

The ED is conducting a probe on allegations that Wal-Mart put money into the domestic multi-brand retail chain despite a ban on foreign direct investment in the sector, a charge strongly denied by Bharti Enterprise, the joint-venture partner of the US retail company.

The Rs 455.8 crore investment by Wal-Mart in Cedar Support Services Ltd, a subsidiary of Bharti Ventures, had come under attack from CPI Rajya Sabha member MP Achuthan, who wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh earlier, saying it was “illegal” and flouted FDI rules.

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