Walmart Caught in Bribery Cover-up Scandal


Photo: Getty Images


Walmart has been accused of attempting to cover up an internal investigation of bribery related to the chain’s Mexican expansion.

According to the New York Times, the retail giant bribed Mexican officials on multiple occasions to obtain building permits all over Mexico. The Mexican arm of the company, Walmart de Mexico, also allegedly tried to conceal the bribery from Walmart’s Arkansas headquarters—though the secret came out when an executive who formerly worked for the Mexican segment alerted one of the company’s senior lawyers.

However, rather than examine the claims, Walmart’s leaders reportedly shut down the investigation, the New York Times reports—and promoted Eduardo Castro-Wright, the chief executive of Walmart de Mexico, to vice chairman of Walmart.

“If these allegations are true, it is not a reflection of who we are or what we stand for,” David W. Tovar, a spokesman for the company, told the Times. “We are deeply concerned by these allegations and are working aggressively to determine what happened.”

Today, Walmart de Mexico is the nation's largest private employer, with 209,000 employees in the country.

A new investigation into the scandal—led by a former F.B.I. investigator—has been launched. Castro-Wright happens to be retiring from his post at the company in July, but the situation is far from over.

“We are working hard to understand what occurred in Bentonville more than six years ago and are committed to conducting a complete investigation before forming conclusions,” Tovar said. “Unfortunately, we realize that, at this point, there are some unanswered questions. We wish we could say more but we will not jeopardize the integrity of the investigation.”