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.
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