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Wal-Mart’s lobbying triggers India investigation

Wal-Mart’s disclosure in the U.S. that it spent $25 million lobbying American lawmakers for help gaining access to foreign markets has triggered demands from Indian politicians for a government investigation.

Lobbying is considered illegal in India and is often equated with bribery.

The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday said India’s government will appoint a retired judge to conduct an investigation.

Wal-Mart has denied that it did any lobbying in India.

In demanding a government investigation, upper house opposition BJP member M Venkaiah Naidu said:

“It is a question of our nation’s sovereignty. It is a shameful act. We have to have a detailed discussion.”

The Indian government earlier this year changed the law to allow foreign retailers to own up to 51 percent of local outlets.

Last month Wal-Mart’s India joint venture suspended its chief financial officer and others during a growing global bribery investigation.

Wal-Mart said in November that its FCPA investigation that started in Mexico had expanded at least to Brazil, China, and India.

Wal-Mart’s partner in India is Bharti Enterprises.

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