Lack of TPRM strategy can be an expensive reminder of how important is it to balance the risks and benefits of using third parties to deliver business services.

On June 20, 2019, Walmart Inc global retail corporation, settled a long-running corruption investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to resolve a long-running U.S. bribery investigation into allegations of bribery by its employees. 

According to the agreed-upon statement of facts in the DOJ settlement documents, as well as allegations in the SEC administrative order, from 2000 until 2011, despite the fact that certain Walmart personnel responsible for implementing and maintaining the Company’s internal accounting controls related to anti-corruption were aware of certain controls failures, including failures related to potentially improper payments to government officials by certain Walmart foreign subsidiaries, Walmart failed to implement appropriate internal controls to prevent such improper payments.

The DOJ alleged that Walmart failed to do the following:

  1. Conduct sufficient anti-corruption due diligence on third-party intermediaries (“TPIs”) who interacted with foreign officials;
  2. Implement appropriate controls related to payments to TPIs; 
  3. Require proof of services before paying TPIs; 
  4. Require that TPIs had written contracts with anti-corruption compliance provisions; 
  5. Ensure that donations ostensibly made to foreign government agencies were not converted to personal use by foreign officials; and
  6. Implement appropriate policies covering gifts, travel and entertainment for foreign officials.

With a total of $282 million in penalties and disgorgement and its Brazilian subsidiary pleading guilty to criminal charges, the deal could have easily been avoided with a professional due diligence implementation.

The Arkansas-based global retail corporation settled a long-running corruption investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice (the “DOJ”) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) (collectively the “Government”), with the Company paying a total of $282 million in penalties and disgorgement and its Brazilian subsidiary pleading guilty to criminal charges.

Expensive Reminder About the Importance of Due diligence

What is due diligence?

Due diligence is understood as the reasonable steps taken to satisfy legal requirements in the conduct of business relations. An Integrity Due Diligence allows you to reduce risks arising from the FCPA (Foreign Corrupt Practices Act) and the UKBA (U.K. Bribery Act), make informed decisions, and pursue takeovers or mergers confidently. In the business world, due diligence refers to the organisation’s investigation and steps to satisfy all legal requirements before buying or selling products and services or entering into a contract or a financial arrangement with another party.

Unlike other kinds of control (audits, market analysis, etc.), it must be independent and rely as little as possible upon information provided by the researched subject. The other significant difference lies in the methodology: commercial or financial due diligence analyses available information, Investigative Due Diligence provides reliable and pertinent, but raw, information.

When conducting investigative due diligence, you can identify key risks; it can enhance your knowledge and understanding of the customer, supplier, employee and third-party risk, helping you avoid any compliance. 

Protect your reputation and the risk of financial damage and regulator action using our detailed reports. 

Types of transactions

Professionals can be hired to conduct investigations or audits of business deals involving a variety of transactions, such as:

  • merger & acquisition;
  • potential investment in securities;
  • real estate transaction;
  • business purchase or sale; and
  • investment in a new product or technology, and so on.

Types of investigations

The standard types of investigations that are conducted include:

  • Conflict of interest investigation;
  • Review of financial records;
  • Confirmation of financials with a bank or other financial institution;
  • Credit checks from credit reporting companies (such as Equifax);
  • Property title checks obtained from a trusted source (e.g. land titles office or your lawyer); and
  • Confirmation of corporate status, directors, officers, and shareholders (if applicable).

How can a professional fraud investigator help?

  • review client documentation and information to identify red flags of fraud;
  • conduct standard public record searches on the people or issues identified;
  • conduct covert and overt interviews and gather intelligence utilising other covert and overt methods; and
  • after an initial investigation is completed, request that their clients meet with the proposed parties to the transaction to gauge their credibility against the information that the investigator has found about them.

How CRI® can help

We enable businesses to make better decisions about the third parties they choose to work with. We help you make better decisions faster. We examine risk from every angle so you can make better-informed decisions. And we provide you with the insights you need to identify the partners who will create better long-term value for your business.

Third-party risk management services brochure