Wal-Mart bribery scandal deepens
Wal-Mart may be facing sizeable fines related to allegations of widespread bribery at its Mexican affiliate, after a second report from the New York Times provided more details about the scope of the potential misconduct.
Experts said the latest report is significant because it appears to show the alleged bribes were a substantial part of its business methods, and more than routine payments to speed up approvals, which are allowed under US law.
The newspaper said the world’s largest retailer opened some 19 stores by using hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to get what local laws otherwise prohibited.
In April the newspaper reported that Wal-Mart had stifled an internal probe into bribery at its Mexican affiliate Walmex, but gave the impression that many of the bribes paid may have been used to facilitate approval processes already in motion.
Wal-Mart declined to provide additional comment yesterday. The company is co-operating with US federal inquiries on the matter.
The company’s costs to conduct the entire investigation – which already stand at $100 million – could be larger than its eventual fines, lawyers said. Wal-Mart has also been proactive with other measures that could blunt some of the demands from authorities. – (Reuters)