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04-21-2012, 01:09 PM   #1
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NYT: Vast Mexico Bribery Case Hushed Up by Wal-Mart

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MEXICO CITY — 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.

Wal-Mart dispatched investigators to Mexico City, and within days they unearthed evidence of widespread bribery. They found a paper trail of hundreds of suspect payments totaling more than $24 million. They also found documents showing that Wal-Mart de Mexico’s top executives not only knew about the payments, but had taken steps to conceal them from Wal-Mart’s headquarters in Bentonville, Ark. In a confidential report to his superiors, Wal-Mart’s lead investigator, a former F.B.I. special agent, summed up their initial findings this way: “There is reasonable suspicion to believe that Mexican and USA laws have been violated.”

The lead 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.
...
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/22/business/at-wal-mart-in-mexico-a-bribe-inquiry-silenced.html

04-21-2012, 03:47 PM   #2
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This is no surprise. I think its common knowledge that you can buy anything or anyone in Mexico.
04-21-2012, 04:30 PM   #3
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Hmm , seems I heard something about a high ranking US politician who made fame and fortune as a walmart legal eagle.
04-21-2012, 06:09 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Parallax Quote
This is no surprise. I think its common knowledge that you can buy anything or anyone in Mexico.
If this had happened in America, it would be called "lobbying" and written off as business as usual.

04-22-2012, 01:33 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Parallax Quote
This is no surprise. I think its common knowledge that you can buy anything or anyone in Mexico.
Walmart had a policy that said they wouldn't though. Moreover, they would supposedly take a dim view, if someone in the organization did. Yet, it would seem that the US HQ full well knew about this and chose to ignore it. Also, there is a US law (FCPA) agaist bribing foreign officials. It is interesting to see whether / how the latter gets applied and what Walmart does now that this is public.

Last edited by jolepp; 04-22-2012 at 02:36 AM.
04-22-2012, 02:31 AM   #6
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They may have found that they had no choice in the end. Some cultures bribes to get permits and such are an unfortunate necessity. I once knew a guy here from the Middle East who rather blatantly offered bribes to some city officials to get his food carts placed in more lucrative areas. He was shocked to find out that a prosecutable crime in that city. He wanted me to help him set up some on the beaches here. At the time you couldn't unless you were a disabled vet. He laughed, said "Money would talk." I decided I didn't want to work for him. Not when I could see myself easily ending up in jail over cultural differences.
04-28-2012, 03:50 PM   #7
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As reported in a front-page article in The New York Times this week, the Wal-Mart Mexican bribery scheme has all the makings of a gripping criminal prosecution: millions of dollars in illegal payoffs to Mexican government officials and evidence of a cover-up scheme that went all the way to Wal-Mart headquarters in Bentonville, Ark.

And the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which outlaws the bribery of foreign officials by American executives, carries stiff penalties for those convicted: fines of up to $5 million and up to 20 years in prison.

So who’s likely to go to jail?

No one, if past precedent is any guide.
...
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/28/business/for-wal-mart-lots-of-bribes-but-l...mon-sense.html
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