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The charges that Walmart used bribes of foreign officials as a way to grease the wheels of its global expansion seem to have applied the brakes to the company's efforts to grow its business in India.

The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that Walmart has not been able to move as fast as hoped in its India expansion because of what is described as a "labyrinthine process for developing commercial real estate and operating stores ... The company opened just five wholesale stores in the country last year—well below the 22 planned. This year, Wal-Mart plans to open eight locations, a person familiar with the company's plans said."

According to the piece, Walmart's internal probe of the allegations that it bribed its way to dominance in Mexico has led to increased "efforts to keep partners and employees in line with U.S. and Indian laws. Running people through those hoops has slowed its expansion, the company says ... Wal-Mart in the past several months has enlisted a phalanx of lawyers from a U.S. firm to develop compliance procedures and train employees in India. The company also has begun requiring its Indian landlords to attest that they haven't greased any government palms."
KC's View:
Things get tough when you have to shut down the slush fund account.

It remains amazing to me that Walmart, which can be self-righteous when it comes to talking about issues like ethics, has had to a) do so much to make sure its people are doing the right things, and b) is taking so long to complete its internal probe.

Or maybe not so amazing. It is hard for lawyers to come up with credible non-denial denials and plausible deniability.