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Walmart Seeks Anti-Corruption Certification to Improve Compliance

Walmart has its eye on a major global anti-corruption certification.

The retailer is aiming to be the first U.S. company to be certified under the International Organization for Standardization’s (ISO) new international program, The Financial Express reported. The anti-corruption compliance program could help businesses protect themselves against isolated corruption cases in the future.

According to Walmart’s EVP and global chief ethics and compliance officer Jay Jorgensen, the retailer is searching for a company that would certify them for the program.

At the Thomson Reuters Financial and Risk Summit in New York on Wednesday, Jorgensen said Walmart would like the program to be established in the U.S., ideally with the government adopting ISO standards or developing its own anti-corruption compliance framework to help defend companies accused of poor business practices.

In the past few months, federal agencies have also been in contact with the Arkansas-based company about compliance program improvements. Jorgensen added that Walmart will continue to provide feedback to federal agencies and state regulators on compliance guidelines.

Over the past four years, Walmart has invested more than $141 million in worldwide compliance systems. Jorgensen has played an important role in building the retailer’s current compliance team, which has a staff of more than 2,300 employees in the U.S. and other countries. Recently, Walmart established licensing teams that manage the 56,000 permits Walmart requires to operate in international markets.

Walmart set to improve its compliance outlook after a 2012 New York Times report revealed that the retailer participated in a multi-year bribery campaign to foster its Walmart de Mexico arm. Following this accusation, the U.S. Department of Justice conducted an investigation for potential violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in foreign markets, like Brazil and Mexico. To date, Walmart has paid more than $800 million in an internal investigation and legal fees related to the alleged payments.