Walmart pays a $282m slap on the wrist for a decade of rampant bribery

Walmart agreed to pay $282m in fines after a 7-year-long bribery case.


June 24, 2019

Last week, Walmart fessed up to big-time bribery in Brazil, Mexico, India, China, and beyond, agreeing to pay $282m in fines.

For a decade, Walmart bribed officials across the globe into expediting its international expansion, paying officials — sometimes in cash, other times in the form of cars — to turn a blind eye to regulatory requirements.

Walmart traded free cars and computers for winks and nods

In one particularly egregious case, Walmart funneled $500k through a Brazilian woman known as “the sorceress” for her uncanny ability to make obstacles like construction permits magically disappear. 

A small penalty for a big crime

Walmart agreed to pay $138m to avoid prosecution in a criminal case and another $144m in a civil case with the SEC.

The $282m fine Walmart is paying is far less than the $600m fine that was initially proposed. In total, Walmart will end up having paid $900m over the course of these 2 investigations. 

But that $900m — paid over 7 years — is still far less than 1% of the company’s yearly revenue, which is expected to hit $514B in 2019. 

Daily briefings, straight to your inbox

Business and tech news in 5 minutes or less

Join over 1 million people who read The Hustle

Psst

How'd Bezos build a billion dollar empire?

In 1994, Jeff Bezos discovered a shocking stat: Internet usage grew 2,300% per year.

Data shows where markets are headed.

And that’s why we built Trends — to show you up-and-coming market opportunities about to explode. Interested?

Join us, it's free.

Look, you came to this site because you saw something cool. But here’s the deal. This site is actually a daily email that covers the important news in business, tech, and culture.

So, if you like what you’re reading, give the email a try.