Photo: El Ángel Exterminador
Responding to a New York Times investigation that its Mexican subsidiary allegedly bribed local officials, Walmart spokesman David Tovar said the company is actively investigating decisions that may have violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.”The investigation is ongoing and we don’t have a full explanation of what happened,” he said.
He added, “In a large global enterprise such as Walmart, sometimes issues arise despite our best efforts and intentions.”
The report, written by reporter David Barstow and published Saturday, found Walmart executives allegedly sloughed off an internal investigation into the bribery allegations to an official in Mexico who was himself implicated in the alleged wrongdoing.
That official supposedly issued a whitewashed final summary, Barstow writes; Walmart’s head of corporate investigations, a former FBI agent, concluded it was “lacking.”
But the official in Mexico “was told by executives in Bentonville on May 10, 2006, to put his report ‘into final form, thus concluding this investigation,’ ” Barstow writes.
While Walmart’s Mexican unit is likely to be overhauled if the allegations prove true, the company’s response indicates its problems may go all the way to the top:
“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.”
If true, the bribes, which would have totaled millions of dollars, may have violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, Barstow writes.
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