Tuesday, December 18, 2012

How Walmart Bribed Its Way in Mexico

Wal-Mart de Mexico was not the reluctant victim of a corrupt culture that insisted on bribes as the cost of doing business. Nor did it pay bribes merely to speed up routine approvals. Rather, Wal-Mart de Mexico was an aggressive and creative corrupter, offering large payoffs to get what the law otherwise prohibited. It used bribes to subvert democratic governance — public votes, open debates, transparent procedures. It used bribes to circumvent regulatory safeguards that protect Mexican citizens from unsafe construction. It used bribes to outflank rivals.  
NYTimes: The Bribery Aisle: How Wal-Mart Got Its Way in Mexico.

The latest Newyork Times story describes $765,000 in bribes that helped Walmex build a refrigerated distribution center in an environmentally fragile area where electricity was scarce and smaller developers were turned away. It also describes in detail how Walmex allegedly paid $52,000 to change a zoning map so it could open a store near the ancient pyramids in Teotihuacan.  
Reuters: Wal-Mart seen facing sizeable fines in U.S. bribery probe

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