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Wal-Mart’s Vast Mexico Bribery Case Exposed

April 22, 2012

Just another example of what Wal-Mart is really all about.

“In September 2005, a senior Wal-Mart lawyer received an alarming e-mail from a former executive at the company’s largest foreign subsidiary, Wal-Mart de Mexico. In the e-mail and follow-up conversations, the former executive described how Wal-Mart de Mexico had orchestrated a campaign of bribery to win market dominance. In its rush to build stores, he said, the company had paid bribes to obtain permits in virtually every corner of the country. … The lead [internal] investigator recommended that Wal-Mart expand the investigation. Instead, an examination by The New York Times found, Wal-Mart’s leaders shut it down. Neither American nor Mexican law enforcement officials were notified. None of Wal-Mart de Mexico’s leaders were disciplined. Indeed, its chief executive, Eduardo Castro-Wright, identified by the former executive as the driving force behind years of bribery, was promoted to vice chairman of Wal-Mart in 2008.

“Until this article , the allegations and Wal-Mart’s investigation had never been publicly disclosed. But The Times’s examination uncovered a prolonged struggle at the highest levels of Wal-Mart, a struggle that pitted the company’s much publicized commitment to the highest moral and ethical standards against its relentless pursuit of growth. Under fire from labor critics, worried about press leaks and facing a sagging stock price, Wal-Mart’s leaders recognized that the allegations could have devastating consequences, documents and interviews show. … In December, after learning of The Times’s reporting in Mexico, Wal-Mart informed the Justice Department that it had begun an internal investigation into possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a federal law that makes it a crime for American corporations and their subsidiaries to bribe foreign officials.”

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