In a development that can only be called stunning, the New York Times (NYT) on Sunday, April 22, 2012, reported, in an article entitled “Vast Mexico Bribery Case Hushed Up by Wal-Mart After Top-Level Struggle”, on an alleged multi-year bribery and corruption scheme advanced by Wal-Mart in its Mexico operations. The alleged bribery scheme was truly breath-taking in its scope and operation. I am certain others will write about it extensively, beginning as soon as today, and I certainly will review the article in greater depth in upcoming blog posts, the first thing that struck me is that this case will sound the death knell for any efforts to amend the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). Whether you believe such efforts constitute badly needed reform because the Department of Justice (DOJ) has gone too far in enforcement; that any amendments would water down the FCPA and simply make bribery easier; or perhaps some minor clarification of certain terms and definitions is needed; I think you can kiss all of that good-bye.
In other words, the FCPA imposes huge burdens and liability risks on honest companies, but fails to deter dishonest ones, so we're going to leave it on the books as is. I'm left scratching my head in wonderment at the folly of it all.