...former head Wal-Mart de Mexico executive, Sergio Cicero Zapata explained how the company found fixers — known as gestores — who allegedly funnelled Wal-Mart funds to officials in the Mexican government at many levels.
After the gestores made their payments — using a coding system in their documentation that signaled the specific nature of the payment — the recipients, Mexican government officials who had the power to impede Wal-Mart de Mexico – through zoning and environmental permitting processes – issued prompt approval for Wal-Mart de Mexico to open hundreds of stores.
But Cicero alleged that Wal-Mart perfected the art of bribery by accounting for these payments as legal fees. That’s ironic because if the allegations are true, they violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) which makes bribery by a U.S. company’s foreign subsidiaries illegal and requires companies that commit bribery to account for it as a bribe.
Great in-depth article here:
For me, what separates this from other bribery scandals is the scale.
Walmart used systemic nation-wide bribery as a business strategy. Walmart allied themselves with corrupt officials and organized crime to get a competitive advantage in the Mexican market. It's unprecedented.