COLLEGE STATION--A graduate of Texas A&M may be tied to the Walmart bribery case now being investigated by the Department of Justice. Eduardo Castro-Wright was promoted to vice chairman of Walmart De Mexico in 2008 and could have spearheaded Walmart's expansion in the country. ABC40's Elizabeth O'Neal spoke with a professor at Mays Business School about the so called bribery and what could happen to the company's reputation.
Doctor Julian Gaspar is the Executive Director for the Center for International Business at Mays Business School. Gaspar says, Walmart allegedly made some under hand dealings to get stores and building permits in Mexico swiftly. "Instead of going through proper channels some people were paid off so that the process was hastened so they could get into the market quickly to build up their stores in Mexico."
Now Walmart could be facing civil and criminal penalties. "That's why we have the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act to make sure the international business field is a level playing field that is the important thing....it depends what the Mexican competitors decide how they have been hurt if they have been hurt by Walmart because they did not follow procedure."
Gaspar and Texas A&M University did not want to comment on the fact that an Aggie- Eduardo Castro-Wright could be at the center of the probe. In 1975, Castro-Wright earned a bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering and has frequently made donations to the association of former students. He became President of Walmart De Mexico in 2001 and was there during the time of alleged bribery.
Gaspar says building Walmart's in Mexico is a win-win situation for both the U.S. and Mexico's economy but how they went about it will now haunt them for years. "We teach ethics and use cases like this to show in the long run it really hurts the company. Sometimes you try to make a quick profit in the long run it hurts. It's better to disclose these things from the beginning."
Walmart posted a statement on their website saying they are cooperating with the FCPA.
Earlier today insurance company, MetLife announced that Castro-Wright would be voluntarily resigning from his position on the board for personal reasons. Those reasons were not disclosed.