Business, Economics and Jobs

Widespread bribery by Wal-Mart in Mexico - NYT


Residents of the Mexican town of San Juan Teotihuacan, cheer the opening of 'Bodega Aurrera', a subsidiary of the US chain Wal-Mart, in November 2004. After months of controversy, Bodega Aurrera, opened its doors less than two miles from the archaeological site of Teotihuacan.


Alfredo Estrella

Wal-mart shut down an internal inquiry into a massive network of bribery on top of which its Mexican growth had been built, The New York Times reported Saturday.

A former executive revealed to the company that "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 Times said.  

The paper said investigators sent by Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart to Mexico City found evidence of bribery but failed to notify American or Mexican law enforcement agencies.

The investigators found a paper trail of suspected bribery payments of more than $24 million, the paper said. 

In a statement to Reuters, a Wal-Mart official said "Many of the alleged activities in The New York Times article are more than six years old."

The company told Reuters it was "deeply concerned" by the allegations and was "working aggressively" to figure out what happened. 

A US Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment when asked by Reuters. 

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