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, is being published in January 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.
Welcome to The Independent's live coverage of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the final race of the 2014 season that sees Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg battle it out for the Drivers' Championship.
- 1 'Not suppost to cry': 9-year-old lists the worst things about being a boy
- 4 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 5 Grayson Perry: London needs affordable housing because 'rich people don't create culture'
Ryan Gosling granted temporary restraining order against a woman 'convinced she was his twin flame'
Jennifer Lawrence sings in new The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt 1 clip on YouTube
Mike Nichols dead: The Graduate director dies suddenly following cardiac arrest
Anti-gay hate preacher accidentally tweets 4,000 followers cartoon clip of him 'confessing' to be a 'homosexual sodomite'
Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services
Myleene Klass: Ed Miliband 'strikes back' by comparing UK's need for Labour's mansion tax to Hear'Say track
Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...
£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Sales Account Manager...