Okay, young Galts: how is the free hand of the market supposed to help us here:
Wal-Mart dispatched investigators to Mexico City, and within days they unearthed evidence of widespread bribery. They found a paper trail of hundreds of suspect payments totaling more than $24 million. They also found documents showing that Wal-Mart de Mexico’s top executives not only knew about the payments, but had taken steps to conceal them from Wal-Mart’s headquarters in Bentonville, Ark. In a confidential report to his superiors, Wal-Mart’s lead investigator, a former F.B.I. special agent, summed up their initial findings this way: “There is reasonable suspicion to believe that Mexican and USA laws have been violated.”
The lead investigator recommended that Wal-Mart expand the investigation.
Instead, an examination by The New York Times found, Wal-Mart’s leaders shut it down.
Neither American nor Mexican law enforcement officials were notified. None of Wal-Mart de Mexico’s leaders were disciplined. Indeed, its chief executive, Eduardo Castro-Wright, identified by the former executive as the driving force behind years of bribery, was promoted to vice chairman of Wal-Mart in 2008. Until this article, the allegations and Wal-Mart’s investigation had never been publicly disclosed.
I love this story. It has all the hallmarks of modern corporate malfeasance: the crooked top executive who gets a promotion instead of a pink slip; the corporation more worried about bad PR than lawbreaking. And let’s not overlook the nice little side story: the former FBI agents trained at taxpayer expense, now in the employ of a private corporation which is fighting tooth and nail against taxes. Ah your modern titans of capitalism! These are the people we’re supposed to be bending and scraping before, the glorious “job creators” who need a big tax cut so we can continue to allow them a free rein to rule over us. All we need now is for the Tea Party to advocate repealing the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, calling bribery a natural part of a free market system.
This story is a must-read. The level and scope of the bribery and ensuing coverup is truly astonishing, and goes all the way to the company’s top executives, including its CEO. It will be interesting to see what kind of fallout there is.