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Checking In On Wal-Mart’s FCPA And Compliance-Related Expenses

In its recent 4Q FY2017 earnings call presentation [1] Wal-Mart disclosed $17 million in Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and compliance related expenses ($12 million for ongoing investigations and inquiries and $5 million for global compliance program and organizational enhancements). The Q4 expenses of $17 million compare to Q3 expenses of $29 million, Q2 expenses of $28 million and Q1 expenses of $25 million.

Doing the math, Wal-Mart’s 4Q FCPA and compliance-related costs is approximately $275,000 per working day.

Over the past approximate 5 years, I have tracked Wal-Mart’s quarterly disclosed pre-enforcement action professional fees and expenses.

While some pundits have ridiculed me [2] for doing so, it quickly caught on as the popular thing to do.

And with good reason because, as has been noted in prior posts and in the article “Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Ripples [3],” settlement amounts in an actual FCPA enforcement action are often only a relatively minor component of the overall financial consequences that can result from corporate FCPA scrutiny.

Pre-enforcement action professional fees and expenses are typically the largest (in many cases to a degree of 3, 5, 10 or higher than settlement amounts) financial hit to a company under FCPA scrutiny.

Over the past fourteen quarters, Wal-Mart’s FCPA and compliance-related costs have been approximately $275,000, 465,000, $445,000, $396,000, $520,000, $470,000, $470,000, $516,000, $563,000, $640,000, $662,000, $855,000, $1.1 million and $1.3 million per working day.

[4]

In the aggregate, Wal-Mart’s disclosed FCPA and compliance-related costs are as follows.

FY 2013 = $157 million

FY 2014 = $282 million

FY 2015  = $173 million

FY 2016 = $126 million

FY 2017  = $99 million

TOTAL: $837 million

In addition, in the recent earnings call presentation, Wal-Mart disclosed: “In fiscal year 2018, we expect our third party FCPA and compliance-related expenses to range between $65 and $85 million.”

This late January post [5] highlighted the latest on Wal-Mart’s FCPA scrutiny which was first disclosed in December 2011 (see here [6] for prior post) long before the New York Times April 2012 article.

Free 90 Minute 2017 FCPA Year In Review Video

A summary of every corporate enforcement action; notable statistics and issues to consider; compliance take-away points; and enforcement agency and related developments. Click below to view the engaging video tutorial.

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