US retail giant Wal-Mart 'bribed Mexicans to open shops'
Tim Walker is The Independent’s Los Angeles correspondent, covering entertainment and other concerns from the West Coast of the US. He was previously a features writer and the editor of the paper’s diary column. His first novel, Completion, was published in 2014.
Wednesday 19 December 2012
Wal-Mart, the US retail giant, could face fines of billions of dollars, as allegations emerged its Mexican affiliate paid officials to speed up store openings.
In a report published this week, The New York Times claimed the world’s biggest retailer opened at least 19 stores in Mexico after paying bribes worth hundreds of thousands of dollars so as to ignore local regulations. If the company were found guilty under the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, its settlement could dwarf the $800m paid by Siemens in 2008, the biggest FCPA pay-out to date.
The Times investigation uncovered evidence that in 2003, Wal-Mart de Mexico was blocked from building a supermarket in an alfalfa field in San Juan Teotihuacan. The company paid an official $52,000, and the store was built – within sight of the famous Teotihuacan pyramids. Teotihuacan’s mayor, Guillermo Rodriguez, told investigators his 2004 salary was $47,000 and that he had no savings, yet in the same year he bought a $30,300 ranch in cash, and spent a further $47,700 on refurbishments.
With the help of an alleged $765,000 in bribes, the company also constructed a refrigerated distribution centre in an “environmentally fragile” area, where other, smaller developers had been denied similar opportunities. When archaeologists found ancient ruins on Wal-Mart’s Teotihuacan site, including an altar, a plaza and nine graves, construction was halted, but only temporarily. The store opened in November 2004.
- 1 The difference between a migrant and refugee, in one sentence
- 2 Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
- 3 Celebrity Big Brother 2015: Tila Tequila kicked off show after 'describing Hitler as a good man'
- 4 iPhone 5c to be discontinued, no iPhone 6c to replace it
The difference between a migrant and refugee, in one sentence
Spain accused of 'provocation' after letting Russian submarine refuel off Gibraltar
Allonautilus scrobiculatus: World's 'rarest' creature spotted for only the third time ever
Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
Celebrity Big Brother 2015: Tila Tequila kicked off show after 'describing Hitler as a good man'
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'deluding' young supporters with 'claptrap'
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Iain Duncan Smith calls for urgent ESA overhaul as part of drive to cut down welfare costs
£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...
£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...
£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...