Word that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. was caught up in allegations of bribing Mexican officials to speed up growth south of the border, then trying to cover up the situation sent most broadcast/print media into overtime yesterday --- as if such activity is unusual in a foreign country, notes Grumpy Editor.
That sent Wal-Mart’s stock down 4.66 percent to $59.54 a share by Monday’s New York Stock Exchange close.
A New York Times story Saturday mentioned executives from Wal-Mart’s Mexican subsidiary reportedly used systematic bribery to receive building permits across the country.
The article reported Wal-Mart executives learned in 2005 about allegations of “widespread bribery” designed to smooth the path for rapid expansion in Mexico.
Getting a jump on others, CNBC had Michelle Caruso-Cabrera on scene yesterday in Mexico City reporting live from the parking lot in front of a Wal-Mart store.
While broadcast/print media --- and Washington officials --- expressed shock at the happening involving the world’s largest retailer, she summed up the matter succinctly in six words: “That’s how business is done here.”
In Washington the focus will be on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Enacted in 1977, it makes it a federal crime for any company, officer, director, employee or agent of a company to pay or offer anything of value “to any foreign official for purposes of influencing any act or decision of such foreign official in his official capacity, inducing such foreign official to do or omit to do any act in violation of the lawful duty of such official, or securing any improper advantage.”