Argentina wants the names—and evidence—of who was bribed by Ralph Lauren's (NYSE:RL) subsidiary in Argentina between 2005 and 2009, according to Dow Jones.
Ricardo Echegaray, the head of Argentina's tax and customs agency, Afip, said in a press conference on Tuesday (April 23) that he has asked the U.S. ambassador, Vilma Martinez, to help learn the names of customs officers and government officials who were bribed by the retailer to the tune of more than $580,000.
On Monday (April 22), Ralph Lauren agreed to pay a $1.6 million fine to the U.S. Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission to settle an investigation into the bribery scheme. The retailer got a relatively light fine because it discovered and reported the bribery to federal officials. Ralph Lauren has since shut down its retail operations in Argentina.
"In Argentina, those who bribe and those who accept bribes should be prosecuted," Echegaray said. His probe is probably encouraged by the fact that the Ralph Lauren revelations came less than two weeks after a televised expose about alleged acts of corruption involving a local businessman and former Argentina president Nestor Kirchner. Kirchner's widow is Argentina's current president.
For multinational retailers, bribery is now even becoming an expense at the board level. On Monday, Reuters reported that Walmart (NYSE: WMT) paid some members of its board's audit committee an extra $60,000 last year because of extra work they had to perform in handling an ongoing investigation into alleged bribery in Mexico, Brazil, China and India.
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