Retail News Breaks
New charges of bribery in Walmart de Mexico
December 18th, 2012
NEW YORK – A new report from the New York Times cites 19 cases in which Walmart used bribery and payoffs to secure store openings in Mexico during the period 2003 to 2004. Last month Mexico’s federal comptroller’s office announced that it had found no irregularities in the permits Walmart had received, although two audits were ongoing.
Much of the latest article focuses on a particular site in Teotihuacan, situated north of Mexico City. According to the Times, Walmart bribed a local official to change a zoning map before it was published in a government newspaper and thus made official. When the company broke ground on the site months later intense protests, including sit-ins and hunger strikes, ensued.
Walmart has issued a response to the new charges, stating that the question of licenses and permits for the Teotihuacan site have been part of Walmart’s ongoing internal investigation of potential corruption. "At this point the investigation is still ongoing and we have not yet reached final conclusions," said David Tovar, vice president of corporate communications, in a statement. "A thorough independent investigation will take time to complete."
Tovar went on to point out that since the initial Times story broke in April the retailer has established several new compliance positions and deployed more than 300 third-party legal and accounting experts to its investigation, which has involved more than 1,000 interviews of personnel in its international markets.
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