According to a Press Trust of India (PTI) report, multinational retail corporation Wal-Mart supposedly paid bribes worth millions of dollars in India to help them move their goods through Indian customs and to obtain real-estate permits within the country.
PTI further sources The Wall Street Journal for its allegation of “suspected bribery” on Wal-Mart and says that thousands of small payments were made to low-level local officials to help them. The report said:
“The vast majority of the suspicious payments were less than US $200, and some were as low as US $5, the people said, but when added together they totalled millions of dollars.”
While Wal-Mart’s plan to open retail stores in India were shelved in 2013 and the retail major had scraped their joint venture with Bharti Enterprises Ltd, the reports claim that they instead decided to become solely a wholesaler there.
Wal-Mart is further believed to have pushed the previous UPA regime to let them open the multi-brand retail chain. It has also been claimed that they were involved in lobbying before the US Congress in this regard.
The report then goes on to add that Wal-Mart’s massive bribery efforts is mostly likely to go unpunished as it did not yield any profit under the provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) of the United States.
The news report said:
“Because penalties under the FCPA are often connected to the amount of profit the alleged misconduct generated, the payments in India wouldn’t be likely to result in any sizable penalty, since Wal-Mart’s operations there haven’t been particularly profitable, said people familiar with the matter.”
No response has been given by Wal-Mart’s corporate headquarters on this report.
The Wall Street Journal report claims that the federal investigators had “found evidence of bribery in India, centring on widespread but relatively small payments made to local officials there,” while they were looking into the “high-profile federal probe” in Wal-mart’s involvement in allegations of widespread corruption at the Wal-Mart Stores Inc’s operations in Mexico.