Seven years ago this week the New York Times published an article (here) titled “Vast Mexico Bribery Case Hushed Up by Wal-Mart After Top-Level Struggle.”
The conduct at issue in the Times article related to Wal-Mart’s largest foreign subsidiary, Wal-Mart de Mexico (“Wal-Mart Mexico), and suggested that Wal-Mart Mexico “orchestrated a campaign of bribery to win market dominance” and that the entity “paid bribes to obtain permits in virtually every corner” of Mexico.
The April 2012 NY Times article resulted in intense world-wide media scrutiny of Wal-Mart. However, it was known months before the NY Times article, that Wal-Mart was under FCPA scrutiny. Like in many facets of modern life, the narrative that Wal-Mart’s FCPA scrutiny began with the NY Times article became more important than actual facts and uniformed commentators who frequently display little regard for actual facts carried forward the narrative. (See here for the December 2011 FCPA Professor post highlighting Wal-Mart’s FCPA disclosure and here for the prior post titled “Wal-Mart’s FCPA Scrutiny DID NOT Begin with the April 2012 NY Times Article).
Thus, this week is a false seven year anniversary of Wal-Mart’s FCPA scrutiny, but a meaningful anniversary nevertheless.