Updated 12:03 PM EDT, Wed, Sep 22, 2021

U.S. Probes Wal-Mart Store in Brazil for Suspected Misconduct

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U.S. prosecutors are investigating a Wal-Mart store in Brazil for suspected misconduct and potential bribery.

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, the Justice Department has focused on $500,000 believed to have been paid to an individual hired to secure government permits to build two stores in Brazil's capital, Brasilia, between 2009 and 2012. Investigators are evaluating whether Wal-Mart employees have knowledge or allowed the suspected payment.

The Wall Street Journal's report didn't say if anyone will be charged.

A Justice Department spokesman didn't provide a comment regarding the issue. Wal-Mart, in a statement, said that they are cooperating fully with the government but didn't give any further remarks.

"For Walmart, compliance with the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and other anti-corruption laws is a key priority," spokesman Greg Hitt said in the statement issued by the Wall Street Journal. "We work closely with third-party compliance experts on support and training as we continuously review and strengthen our programs around the world."

The investigation originally probed into the retail giant's operations in Mexico and found no evidence of major offenses, the news outlet noted.

Union Group Plans Black Friday Protests Against Wal-Mart

Union-backed group called Making Change at Walmart said it will hold a series of protests at Wal-Mart stores across the U.S. on the day after Thanksgiving in the hopes of interrupting the company during Black Friday, which kicks off the Christmas shopping season.

The group, which is a subsidiary of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), represents workers at several of Walmart's competitors, such as Giant and Kroger's. The union recently announced that it would "organize and/or support 1,000 local food drives in cities with Walmart stores so as to help gather food and goods for Walmart workers and other families in need," Washington Examiner reported.

"Walmart pays its workers poverty-level wages, meaning that an estimated hundreds of thousands of hard-working Walmart employees will be forced to rely on assistance from food banks and food stamps this holiday season," said Jess Levin, communications director at Making Change at Walmart, as quoted by the news outlet.

Forbes wrote that the group aims to feed 100,000 Wal-Mart workers and their families in all 50 states. Making Change at Walmart said that the retail giant's employees struggle with their minimum wage of $9 per hour.

Earlier this month, a group introducing itself as OUR Walmart said it was sponsoring a string of hunger strikes protesting the company's treatment of its employees, Washington Examiner added. The group was founded by Andrea Dehlendorf and Daniel Schlademan, the former directors of UFCW's anti-Walmart actions.

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