Walmart has reached a proposed settlement with the City of Pontiac General Employees’ Retirement System (PGERS) in a securities fraud class-action lawsuit concerning a long-running investigation into violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
In 2012, PGERS filed a securities class-action lawsuit alleging Walmart made materially false and misleading statements and failed to disclose adverse material facts known to it that would have made the statements made by them not misleading. The allegations arise from statements the defendants made in a Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in December 2011.
Specifically, PGERS alleged that Walmart omitted and/or provided misleading information about an alleged bribery scheme that was orchestrated by Walmart de Mexico, a subsidiary of Walmart. PGERS further alleges that the statements contained in the Form 10-Q artificially inflated the price of Walmart shares.
Walmart said in an Oct. 26 Form 8-K filing with the SEC that it reached a $160 million proposed settlement with PGERS, subject to approval by the Honorable Susan Hickey of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas. The settlement fund would pay for claims alleging violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as well as the costs of administering the settlement and legal fees and expenses. PGERS represents a class of shareholders who purchased or acquired Walmart stock between Dec. 8, 2011, and April 20, 2012.
“The proposed settlement does not include or constitute an admission, concession, or finding of any fault, liability, or wrongdoing by the company or any defendant,” Walmart said in the securities filing.
“We are pleased both sides could reach a resolution that ends this litigation,” Karen Roberts, executive vice president and general counsel for Walmart, said in a statement. “Years ago, we began making investments that have established a leading, comprehensive, worldwide ethics and compliance program for our business.”