The investigation into bribery in Mexico involving Wal-Mart executives in that country (see our earlier post for some background on the matter) continues unabated.
Today, a cover story by David Barstow and Alejandra Xanic von Bertrab, that appears in the NY Times, reports the following: “Wal-Mart longed to build in Elda Pineda’s alfalfa field. It was an ideal location, just off this town’s [San Juan Teotihuacán, Mexico] bustling main entrance and barely a mile from its ancient pyramids, which draw tourists from around the world. With its usual precision, Wal-Mart calculated it would attract 250 customers an hour if only it could put a store in Mrs. Pineda’s field. One major obstacle stood in Wal-Mart’s way. After years of study, the town’s elected leaders had just approved a new zoning map. The leaders wanted to limit growth near the pyramids, and they considered the town’s main entrance too congested already. As a result, the 2003 zoning map prohibited commercial development on Mrs. Pineda’s field, seemingly dooming Wal-Mart’s hopes. But 30 miles away in Mexico City, at the headquarters of Wal-Mart de Mexico, executives were not about to be thwarted by an unfavorable zoning decision. Instead, records and interviews show, they decided to undo the damage with one well-placed $52,000 bribe.”
To read more, click here to see a video clip; and click the image to read the full report from today’s NY Times.