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. 

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