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Bloomberg reports this morning that “billionaire Warren Buffett, whose Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is among Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s largest shareholders, said the retailer may have botched how it dealt with allegations that the company bribed Mexican officials.”

“It looks like they may well have made a mistake in how that was handled,” Buffett said at his company’s annual meeting last week.

Buffett also said that the ongoing investigations into Walmart’s actions will create “a huge diversion of management time,” but also said, “I don’t think the earning power of Wal-Mart five years from now will be materially affected by the outcome of this situation. It may result in a significant fine, but I don’t think it changes the fundamental dynamic.”

This is the latest response to the recent New York Times piece that provided an inside look at Walmart’s Mexico division, suggesting that its fast growth over the past decade was fueled by bribes, and that top management was more concerned with details not being revealed and investigations not being allowed to move forward than it was with stopping the systematic corruption and adhering to US law that forbids American companies from bribing foreign officials. Both Duke and Scott, among other senior executives, were implicated in the story and identified as both knowing about and covering up the bribery.
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