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• The Los Angeles Times reports that Wal-Mart may face even more opposition to its application to open a bank. In addition to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) promising hearings before it makes any decision, and following a negative review of the proposal from outgoing Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan, now Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) has said he will call for hearings by the House of Representatives into the proposal. In addition, the LAT writes, “some lawmakers are expected to propose legislation that may limit nonfinancial companies' ability to get into banking activities.”

• An attorney for former Wal-Mart vice chairman Tom Coughlin confirmed over the weekend that his client will plead guilty to defrauding Wal-Mart and then not paying income taxes on the more than $500,000 that he stole.

Details of the plea – including specifics about jail time that Coughlin might serve – were not immediately available.

It was previously reported that Coughlin agreed to plead guilty to federal charges of wire fraud and tax evasion, charges that could land him in jail for two years or longer.

Wal-Mart still reportedly plans to appeal the decision by an Arkansas judge to toss out a lawsuit filed by the company against Coughlin. The judge said that Wal-Mart gave up its right to sue the disgraced former executive when it signed a retirement deal with him; the company sought to void Coughlin’s retirement benefits because of his financial misconduct during his tenure with the company, and said that Coughlin had a legal responsibility to tell the company that he had embezzled money.

• The Financial Times reports that “Wal-Mart has committed itself to taking most of the fish it sells in North America from environmentally sound sources, in its latest initiative to improve its much criticised record on environmental and social issues.

“The world's largest retailer has pledged that all of its US fresh and frozen fish, excluding farmed fish, will eventually come from fisheries certified as being ‘sustainable’ by the Marine Stewardship Council, meaning that the sea areas they come from are not being over fished.”
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