Wal-Mart leadership covered up corruption committed during it’s Mexican expansion in 2005. It’s been a secret until now. The New York Times launched an investigation of Wal-Mart’s growth into Mexico last December after a whistleblower came forward with a lot of information. (See Video here)
“The New York Times obtained hundreds of internal company documents tracing the evolution of Wal-Mart’s 2005 Mexico investigation. The documents show Wal-Mart’s leadership immediately recognized the seriousness of the allegations. Working in secrecy, a small group of executives, including several current members of Wal-Mart’s senior management, kept close tabs on the inquiry.”
From the start Wal-Mart executives decided damage control was more important than fixing the situation. It’s this kind of culture that energized activists to protest against Wal-Mart’s business practices. Look at what their response to the news was:
Wal-Mart dispatched investigators to Mexico City, and within days they unearthed evidence of widespread bribery. They found a paper trail of hundreds of suspect payments totaling more than $24 million. They also found documents showing that Wal-Mart de Mexico’s top executives not only knew about the payments, but had taken steps to conceal them from Wal-Mart’s headquarters in Bentonville, Ark. In a confidential report to his superiors, Wal-Mart’s lead investigator, a former F.B.I. special agent, summed up their initial findings this way: “There is reasonable suspicion to believe that Mexican and USA laws have been violated.”
The The New York Time examination found credible evidence that bribery played a persistent and significant role in Wal-Mart’s rapid growth in Mexico, where Wal-Mart now employs 209,000 people, making it the country’s largest private employer.”
Why did Wal-Mart do such a stupid thing?
“Under fire from labor critics, worried about press leaks and facing a sagging stock price, Wal-Mart’s leaders recognized that the allegations could have devastating consequences, documents and interviews show. Wal-Mart de Mexico was the company’s brightest success story, pitched to investors as a model for future growth. (Today, one in five Wal-Mart stores is in Mexico.) Confronted with evidence of corruption in Mexico, top Wal-Mart executives focused more on damage control than on rooting out wrongdoing.”
Here in Humboldt County, folks are upset because we have a Wal-Mart store about to open at the Bayshore Mall on Broadway, in Eureka. A local blog – The Humboldt Herald – has an article today; Opposition to Wal-Mart universally understood You might want to stop by and give it a read, just for the comments if nothing else.