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Walmart paid bribes to build stores in Mexico, report says

Walmart Stores Inc. hushed up a vast bribery campaign that top executives of its Mexican subsidiary carried out to build stores across that country, according to a published report.
Walmart Stores Inc. hushed up a vast bribery campaign that top executives of its Mexican subsidiary carried out to build stores across that country, according to a published report.
Seth Perlman, File, Associated Press

NEW YORK — Walmart Stores Inc. hushed up a vast bribery campaign that top executives of its Mexican subsidiary carried out to build stores across that country, according to a published report.

The New York Times reported Saturday that Walmart failed to notify law enforcement officials even after its own investigators found evidence of millions of dollars in bribes. The newspaper said the company shut down its internal probe despite a report by its lead investigator that Mexican and U.S. laws likely were violated.

The Mexican executive, previously the lawyer in charge of obtaining construction permits, said in emails and follow-up conversations that Walmart de Mexico paid bribes to obtain permits throughout the country in its rush to build stores nationwide, the Times reported.

Wal-Mart's growth in Mexico has been so rapid that one of every five Wal-Mart stores now is in that country.

It is Mexico's largest private employer, with 209,000 employees there.The newspaper said that only after learning of its investigation did Wal-Mart inform the U.S. Justice Department in December 2011 that it had begun an internal investigation into possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.