Walmart Mexico in midst of bribery, scandal

Over the past few years, changes have been taking place with top-level managers at various international Walmart Stores Inc. locations. After numerous accusations of scandal and widespread bribery at Walmart locations, including Mexico, the New York Times reports that José Luis Rodríguez Macedo Rivera, once the general counsel at Walmart’s Mexican division, is one of eight to quietly leave the company since 2011.

Even with the removal of the eight accused, Walmart remains under federal investigation as to whether or not they violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act; an act that makes it illegal for an American company to bribe foreign officials.

In this particular case, Walmart has been accused of illegally bribing Mexican officials in order to gain political favors and hurry-up building permits. By building quickly, the company wins market dominance, but the favors in question also involve allegations of Walmart constructing its megastores on archaeologically sensitive land areas that were openly opposed by area residents.

The scandal broke when a former Mexico City Walmart executive detailed to a company lawyer more than $24 million in bribery payments. The New York Times says in regard to a previous top-level employee, “the former executive described how Walmart  Mexico had orchestrated a campaign of bribery to win market dominance. In its rush to build stores, he said, the company had paid bribes to obtain permits in virtually every corner of the country.”

In the US, which constitutes approximately 60 percent of the company’s total annual sales, Walmart continues to experience a sharp decline in both sales and the number of customers for six quarters in a row.

There are currently eight Walmart branches in Cancun: two Sam’s Clubs, three Bodega Aurreras and three supercenters. In Playa del Carmen, there are four Walmart branches: one Sam’s Club, one Bodega Aurrera and two supercenters.

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