Fighting for people over profits
For years, Walmart’s Mexican subsidiary, Walmart de Mexico, based its business model on bribing as many government officials as much as necessary to fuel manic growth – allowing it to crush its competition and buy its way into restricted zones. According the New York Times’ major investigative report published over the weekend, the scheme involved hundreds of payments amounting to over $24 million.
Even worse: According to the Times, internal Walmart investigators found widespread evidence of illegal activity and advised strong action. But instead, Walmart’s US executives, including its then-CEO, covered up the evidence and promoted the man in charge of the bribery to Vice Chairman of the entire corporation.
Walmart is out of control. It views the law as an obstacle to be steamrolled in the name of profits. But we have a powerful tool to make Walmart pay. The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) — one of America’s most important corporate accountability laws — allows the American government to prosecute corporations, their employees, or their subsidiaries if they are found to be bribing public officials anywhere in the world.
Use the form at the right to sign the petition to the Department of Justice and SEC to investigate and prosecute Walmart and its executives to the fullest extent of the law.
Walmart is one of America’s most unsavory exports. It has routinely abused its workers, the environment and the law around the world in a relentless pursuit of profits. But now we have an unprecedented opportunity to hold the retail giant accountable.
As the Times reports, bribery was central to Walmart de Mexico’s rapid expansion over the past decade to become Mexico’s largest retailer. Bribes bought overnight zoning map alterations, pro-corporate changes to environmental impact surveys, and rapid permit approval that helped the company outmaneuver competitors. As company executives in Walmart’s HQ in Bentonville, Arkansas heard of the allegations, they first handed it over to an understaffed internal investigation team. When that team proved too efficient at cataloguing the corruption, Walmart’s CEO moved the investigation to the control of Walmart de Mexico’s chief counsel — the very man under investigation for approving the bribes.
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act allows the federal government to prosecute both Walmart itself and its executives individually for these corrupt practices. In 2008, German corporation Siemens had to pay over $800 million to the US government for violations. But Walmart is one of the biggest political contributors in the US, and its executives and the uber-wealthy Walton family have connections everywhere — so we need to make sure the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission feel public pressure to enforce the law to its fullest extent against Walmart.
Add your name to our petition to bring Walmart to justice for the corruption of its Mexico branch and subsequent cover-up.
“Vast Mexico Bribery Case Hushed Up by Wal-Mart After Top-Level Struggle“, The New York Times, April 21, 2012