Jan 31 A Mexican state governor implicated in a
bribery scandal involving Wal-Mart Stores Inc sued a
former lawyer-turned-whistleblower for the company and sought an
apology for naming him in connection with the scandal.
The lawsuit adds another layer of intrigue around a scandal
that has dogged the company and its Mexican affiliate, Walmex
On Wednesday, Walmex released a statement saying it had made
no allegations involving illicit acts by public officials in
Reports in The New York Times last year detailed how the
company allegedly paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in
bribes to open stores in Mexico and obtain what laws had
otherwise prohibited in the mid-2000s. It also reported that the
company stifled an early internal inquiry into the matter.
Wal-Mart and U.S. authorities are investigating the
Graco Ramirez, the governor of Morelos, was identified in
emails released by U.S. lawmakers earlier this month as
negotiating a bribe worth 2 million pesos on behalf of Walmex.
At the time he was a deputy with the center-left Party of the
The email detailed allegations provided by Sergio Cicero, a
former lawyer for the company, who also provided information to
Ramirez filed a lawsuit against Cicero claiming that email,
sent in 2005, hurt his reputation. He asked Cicero to publicly
say that what he alleged was not true.
"I have never had any contact with Mr. Sergio Cicero
Zapata," Ramirez said in a statement describing the lawsuit.
He also said he did not know any officials from Wal-Mart.
In its statement, Walmex said the allegations from the email
are part of its bribery investigation.
"We regret the effect that the actions by third parties may
have had on persons and on institutions for which the Company
has deep respect," it said.
Cicero could not be immediately located for comment.
(Reporting by Aruna Viswanatha, additional reporting by
Alexandra Alper in Mexico, editing by G Crosse)