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Monday, April 30, 2012

Wal-Mart: Political Contributions as Bribery

In September 2005, according to the New York Times, “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.’”

                   Critics protesting a new Wal-Mart store after the bribery scandal    John Moore/Getty
The full essay is in The full essay is in Cases of Unethical Business: A Malignant Mentality of Mendacity, available in print and as an ebook at Amazon.com.