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Executives Suspended in Walmart Venture in India

Bharti Walmart, the joint venture of 50/50 between Walmart and Bharti Enterprises said in a statement that some associates were suspended to make sure the investigation would be thorough

November 23, 2012 – The joint venture involving Walmart in India has suspended a number of its senior executives as well as delayed the opening of several stores, as an internal bribery probe takes place, the company announced Friday.

This is just more setbacks for the international operations of the retail giant and comes at a very sensitive time in India because policy makers in the country recently approved legislation allowing foreign retailers such as Walmart to open business in the country. The investigation has strengthened lawmakers who were opposed and want to overturn the decision by the government over foreign retailers.

Bharti Walmart, the joint venture of 50/50 between Walmart and Bharti Enterprises said in a statement that some associates were suspended to make sure the investigation would be thorough and complete. A newspaper in India reported that amongst the suspended executives was the CFO and the joint venture’s legal team however, the company could not confirm it.

Earlier in November, Walmart announced it had broadened the investigation into bribery in India, Brazil and China, which had been initially focused just on Mexico. Last April a newspaper in the U.S. reported that top executives at Walmart headquarters in Arkansas had suppressed an investigation that had found good credible evidence of bribery by its subsidiary in Mexico in order to help open additional stores in the country.

Currently in India, eighteen wholesale stores are operated by Bharti Walmart. Those stores can only sell goods to businesses such has restaurants, hotels or retailers. Most of the joint venture’s stores are in the northern area of India. However, there were plans to expand into the west and south. Nevertheless, those plans were delayed, but a statement said the group was excited about the chances to grow their business in such a vibrant economy.

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