Bharti Walmart, a joint venture between Walmart Stores Inc. and Bharti Enterprises, has suspended few of senior associates including CFO Pankaj Madan, as a part of a bribery probe by the US retail giant at some of its overseas units.
A Bharti Walmart source said that Pankaj Madan and four of the five-member legal team of Bharti Walmart were suspended on Tuesday as part of the ongoing investigation over allegations of corrupt practices against the company in foreign markets, including India.
Confirming the suspension, a Bharti Walmart spokesperson said, ” We are committed to conducting a complete and thorough investigation. It would be inappropriate for us to comment further until we have finished the investigation.”
The Walmart spokesperson said that the company is focussed on the Indian market and remains eager to expand opportunities to Indian farmers, when questioned whether Walmart has decided to put its cash-and-carry store expansion on hold till the probe completed.
The Walmart bribery scandal comes at a time when Indian policymakers decided on allowing foreign retailers like Walmart to open stores in the country, after a prolonged disfavour from local retailers.
In early November, Walmart had reported that it had expanded a bribery investigation to India, China and Brazil that was initially focused on Mexico.
In April, Walmart was hit by bribery scandal in Mexico in which New York Times reported that Walmart executives at the company’s Arkansas headquarters had sabotaged an internal investigation which found substantial evidence that its Mexican subsidiary had paid bribes to open more stores in that country.