Wal-Mart de Mexico
22 April 2012. Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the world’s largest retailer, hushed up an internal investigation into allegations of bribery at its Mexican subsidiary instead of reporting to Mexican or US authorities, the New York Times reported on Saturday.
A former executive of Wal-Mart de Mexico, Sergio Cicero Zapata, sent an e-mail to a senior Wal-Mart lawyer describing how the subsidiary had paid bribes to obtain permits to build stores in the country. He knew enough, because for years he had been the lawyer in charge of obtaining construction permits for Wal-Mart de Mexico.
Wal-Mart sent investigators to Mexico City and found a paper trail of suspect payments totalling more than $24 million, but the company’s leaders then shut down the investigation.
Wal-Mart de Mexico had used bribery achieve rapid growth and market dominance. Mr. Castro-Wright was the CEO of Wal-Mart de Mexico at the time and the stunning growth of the Mexican subsidiary made Mr. Castro-Wright a rising star in Wal-Mart’s head quarters. Wal-Mart de Mexico, with 209,000 current employees, is the biggest Wal-Mart operations outside of the US.
After New York Times revealed its investigations of corruption, Wal-Mart informed the Justice Department that it had begun an internal investigation into possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.