NEW YORK—A group of New York City pension funds is suing Wal-Mart executives in hopes of recovering financial damages caused by a series of lawsuits against Wal-Mart, related to allegations of bribery against the company in Mexico.
The pension funds own 5.6 million shares of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., worth an estimated $379 million. The lawsuit was filed Monday in the Chancery Court of Delaware, on behalf of 10 city pension funds, against both current and former executives that may have been involved in the alleged scandal.
The allegations of bribery reported by the New York Times in late April, which said investigators had found evidence of widespread bribery by company executives in Mexico, to quickly secure permits to build new stores throughout Mexico.
The pensions fund lawsuit is in addition to at least a dozen such lawsuits filed against Wal-Mart since the New York Times article ran. Wal-Mart’s Mexican unit allegedly paid millions of dollars in bribes.
Eduardo Castro-Wright led Wal-Mart’s Mexico division at the time of the alleged bribery, and although he is retiring next month as vice chairman, his name is included in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit names 27 current and former Wal-Mart executives including all its current board members—except one, Marissa Mayer, who was elected to the board only as of this month as vice president for local, maps, and location services at Google Inc.
CEO Mike Duke, former CEO Lee Scott, and descendants of the company’s founder, Jim Walton, and board Chairman Robson Walton will be sued.
“We take our responsibility to our shareholders very seriously,” Wal-Mart spokesman Dave Tovar said in a statement. “We will review the lawsuit closely and are thoroughly investigating the issues thathave been raised.”
“A thorough investigation will take time and we are in the early stages. It would be inappropriate for us or others to come to conclusions before the investigation is complete,” Tovar said.
The pension funds would ultimately turn any damages awarded back to the company.
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