An article published yesterday in the New York Times concludes that Walmart used an extensive system of bribes in order to speed the company’s growth and outpace the competition in Mexico. The article further concludes that when the allegations of bribes were brought to the attention of company executives, the investigation was minimized, handed over to an executive at Walmart de Mexico who was himself implicated in the crimes and in the end, shut down.
Writing in response to the article, Nathan Vardi writes in Forbes that “Walmart Stores will likely face the wrath of the U.S. Department of Justice for reining in an internal investigation into bribery allegations at its Mexican subsidiary.”
Ben Heineman, Jr., writing in The Atlantic, argued that the article “is likely to set off an explosion affecting America’s eighth largest company and its top leaders, including present and past CEOs.” Heineman asserts that the investigation by the Times is interesting because “it presents a detailed case that something was rotten in both Mexico City and Bentonville (Walmart’s Arkansas headquarters).”
Among those mentioned in the story as having detailed knowledge of the alleged bribes and possibly having a role in limiting a more comprehensive investigation are current Walmart CEO Mike Duke and former CEO and current board member Lee Scott, Jr.
This story will continue to evolve in the coming days, weeks and months. Stay tuned.