May 21, 2013
Associated Press, 5/20/2013
A U.S. judge ordered attorneys for Wal-Mart Stores to turn over more information to shareholders seeking records on how the company responded to allegations of bribery involving its operations in Mexico. The judge on Monday suggested that Wal-Mart attorneys had taken a “persnickety and narrow” approach to turning over documents requested by attorneys for large pension funds trying to find out what, and when, company directors knew of the payments.
The plaintiffs also want information about an internal investigation conducted by Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart into allegations that bribes were used to speed building permits and gain other favors. The bribery allegations, first reported by The New York Times last year, were carried out by top executives of its Mexican subsidiary to build stores across that country.
January 11, 2013
Fox News Latino, 1/11/2013
New emails released by U.S. lawmakers show that Wal-Mart CEO Mike Duke learned in 2005 that executives in the company’s México unit handed out bribes to local officials — contradicting earlier company that they knew nothing about it. Democratic Congressmen Elijah Cummings and Henry Waxman, who are investigating bribery charges at Wal-Mart’s Mexico division, released emails on Thursday that indicate that Duke and other senior Wal-Mart officials were informed multiple times starting in 2005 about bribes being made in the country. U.S. law forbids American companies from bribing foreign officials.
December 17, 2012
Wall Street Journal 12/14/2012
Mexico’s state-owned oil company Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, is suing German conglomerate Siemens AG (SIE, SIE.XE) and South Korea’s SK Engineering & Construction Co. for as much as $1.5 billion in a U.S. district court for allegedly using bribery to win a 1997 refinery contract and to keep it after serious cost overruns, Dow Jones Newswires reported.
December 5, 2012
Market place, 12/3/2012
Mexico has a new president. Enrique Peña Nieto announced major economic initiatives as he was inaugurated over the weekend. On the inside of the festivities, Peña Nieto’s first day on the job was all cheers. Outside, rioters opposed to Peña Nieto and his PRI party charged official barriers and threw Molotov cocktails. Police fired rubber bullets and exploded tear gas canisters.
December 3, 2012
The Economist, 11/24/2012
A Buddhist monk, some neatly dressed Mormon missionaries and a young Guatemalan reading Nietzsche are among those waiting in the offices of the National Institute of Migration for their visas to be issued. Clerks tell visitors to take a seat—a mischievous joke, since there are vastly more people than chairs in the cramped waiting room. The air is thick with boredom and barely stifled rage. Doing business in Mexico can be a frustrating experience, thanks to the country’s affection for trámites, or red tape. Woe betide anyone who seeks a permit without the requisite number of photocopies or a notary’s stamp. Until recently foreigners of both sexes who wanted to live in Mexico had to fill in a form that included questions on their style of moustache (thin, trimmed or bushy?).
August 17, 2012
Walmex V-series shares fell 6.2 percent to 35.80 pesos ($2.70) a share on Mexico’s stock exchange Wednesday following release of the letter from U.S. Reps. Henry Waxman and Elijah Cummings describing the new allegations.
“We have obtained internal company documents, including internal audit reports, from other sources suggesting that Wal-Mart may have had compliance issues relating not only to bribery, but also to ‘questionable financial behavior’ including tax evasion and money laundering in Mexico,” the two U.S. congressmen wrote in the letter to Michael Duke, CEO of Wal-Mart Stores.
Walmex said in a statement that “it has no knowledge that (it) is being investigated by Mexican authorities concerning these issues.”
June 21, 2012
Financial Times, 6/21/12
Walmart Mexico said on Wednesday that it expected to open 325 to 335 new stores this year, a reduction from plans announced in February to open 410 to 436. It said total investment this year would be cut to 17.5bn pesos from 19.7bn pesos.
Without referring to the bribery allegations, it said: “The revision to the expansion programme is primarily due to additional steps the company is adding to its real estate process that extends the average time required to open a store.”
According to allegations in the New York Times in April, Walmart paid bribes to secure new store permits in Mexico and then hushed up the practice more than six years ago. Last year Mexico made up 6.5 per cent of its total sales.