Walmart Stores (WMT) is preparing to pay about $300 million to settle a probe of bribery by its employees in markets including Mexico, India, and China, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter.
The deal, which would mark a significant concession by the U.S. government, was being finalized and could change, the Bloomberg report said. In October 2016, Walmart rebuffed a proposal by U.S. prosecutors to pay at least $600 million to settle the same corruption probe. Walmart spokesman Greg Hitt declined to comment on the story. Last week , Walmart told Reuters it was considering getting certified under a new international program that could help companies defend themselves against isolated cases of corruption or poor business practices.
The proposed resolution would require a guilty plea by at least one Walmart subsidiary, but the parent company would not be charged, the report said.
The U.S. Department of Justice has been conducting a long-running investigation into potential misconduct by Walmart in some overseas markets, including China, Brazil, India, and Mexico.
Walmart’s ethics and compliance system came into focus after the New York Times reported in 2012 that Walmart had engaged in a multi-year bribery campaign to build its Walmart de Mexico business.
So far Walmart has spent more than $800 million on legal fees and an internal investigation into the alleged payments and to revamp its compliance systems around the world.