The California Public Employees’ Retirement System plans to vote against the re-election of nine Wal-Mart Stores Inc. directors following allegations that executives bribed Mexican officials.
Calpers, the pension fund for state employees, made the statement Wednesday on its corporate governance website. The fund will vote against directors who were in a position of authority or oversight in 2005, when a senior Wal-Mart lawyer received bribery allegations that may have been covered up by executives and directors, according to a New York Times story last month.
The California asset manager, which held less than one percent of Wal-Mart as of March 31, is the latest investor to come out against Wal-Mart directors. This month, the New York City Pension Fund said it will vote against five directors. The California State Teachers Retirement System said Tuesday it will vote down the entire board when the world’s largest retailer holds its annual meeting June 1.
Advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. has also recommended against re-electing four directors.
Wal-Mart, based in Bentonville, Arkansas, said on April 23 it is cooperating with investigations by the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission that the company violated the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by bribing Mexican officials to open stores more quickly.
The retailer rose less than one percent to $64.20 at 2:16 p.m. in New York. The shares gained 6.6 percent this year through Tuesday.
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