The former CEO of Walmart de Mexico has resigned from the board of directors of a major life insurance company amid claims that Walmart de Mexico systematically bribed Mexican officials during his time as CEO.
Eduardo Castro-Wright cited "personal reason" in a release announce he would step down from the board of directors of Metropolitan Life Insurance Company and MetLife -- the largest life insurer in the U.S. -- according to a MetLife press release (h/t Business Insider).
A New York Times report alleged that Walmart engaged in systematic bribery of Mexican officials in order to gain market share during Castro-Wright’s tenure as CEO of the retail giant’s Mexico unit.
"It is my expectation that these outside distractions will be resolved favorably within the next several months," Castro-Wright, who is the president of Walmart's U.S. stores division, said in a letter to MetLife Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Steven Kandarian, cited by Bloomberg. "In the interim, however, they would not allow me to perform my duties at the highest levels that both the board and I demand. Accordingly, I now must focus my energy in spending personal time with my family and in protecting my good name."
The fallout from the NYT report has hit Walmart from a variety of angles. The company's stock price dropped nearly 5 percent Monday, the first full day of trading since the story broke, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. In addition, Walmart's stock price fell so much in midday trading that it wiped out all of its 2012 gains.
Shares of both Walmart and its Mexican subsidiary also became a target for short sellers shortly after the story broke, threatening to drive the stock price down even further.
The Justice Department has been investigating the bribery allegations since last year, Reuters reports. Two Congressman announced Monday that they would launch an investigation into the claims.
Still, it's likely that the big box retailer will escape criminal charges. If similar cases in recent history are any indication, the Justice Department will probably settle with Walmart without formally prosecuting the company.
MetLife already dealt with some negative publicity of its own this week. The company agreed Monday to pay $500 million to settle an investigation into unpaid claims for dead policy owners.
Here are some other companies that have faced bribery scandals:
Employees of Walmart's Mexico division allegedly bribed Mexican officials to help the company gain dominance in the country, according to a New York Times report. Walmart senior executives had allegedly been aware of the claims since 2005, but didn't disclose them until December 2011.
In 2008, German conglomerate Siemens settled with both German and U.S. authorities for $800 million each over allegations the company bribed officials in a number of countries, according to The New York Times.
Alcatel-Lucent, a French fixed-line phone network supplier, paid a $137 million settlement over allegations it had bribed government officials in Taiwan, Malaysia and Costa Rica, Bloomberg reports.
In 2010, defense contractor BAE systems paid a settlement worth almost $450 million to U.S. and British authorities to settle allegations it had bribed officials in Saudi Arabia and Hungary to win defense contracts, The Washington Post reports.
The Department of Justice ordered oil company Shell to pay $48 million in fines after one of its contractors admitted to bribing Nigerian customs officials, The Telegraph reports.
Albert J. Stanley, former chief of the Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root, pleaded guilty to conspiring to pay $6 billion worth of bribes to Nigerian officials in February 2012, The New York Times reports.
In February, federal prosecutors presented a grand jury with evidence that employees of the cosmetics company Avon may have engaged in bribery in China, CNBC reports.
Frederic Bourke, co-founder of luxury handbag company Dooney & Bourke, is currently appealing a 2009 conviction for charges of bribery and corruption, The New York Times reports. (Pictured: a counterfeit Dooney & Bourke bag seized in evidence in 2010)