May 17, 2012 / 5:54 PM / in 7 years

U.S. lawmakers seek info in Wal-Mart corruption probe

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two U.S. lawmakers sought additional information from Wal-Mart Stores Inc in an unfolding corruption investigation, focusing further congressional scrutiny on the scandal over its rapid expansion in Mexico.

Representatives Elijah Cummings and Henry Waxman, both Democrats, asked on Thursday to speak with a former top executive at Wal-Mart who urged the company to investigate bribery allegations, but left the company in 2006.

Cummings and Waxman sent a letter to Wal-Mart Chief Executive Michael Duke and asked him to authorize the former general counsel of Wal-Mart International to cooperate in their probe.

The lawmakers said they had contacted the former general counsel, Maritza Munich, who said she wanted to speak with Wal-Mart representatives before speaking to congressional staff.

Munich is reported to have pushed the Wal-Mart board to adopt a strict anti-corruption policy and thoroughly investigate potential misconduct at the company’s Wal-Mart de Mexico operations, but resigned in 2006 and was replaced for a lawyer who soon closed the investigation.

Wal-Mart’s shares have recovered all of the 8.2 percent plunge suffered after an April 21 New York Times report about alleged bribes paid to ease its expansion in Mexico and about an internal investigation that was allegedly suppressed by Wal-Mart executives.

A strong quarterly profit reported by Wal-Mart on Thursday saw its shares up 5 percent in afternoon trading.

Reporting By Aruna Viswanatha; Editing by Tim Dobbyn

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