Dear Mexico, Sorry About Those Tax Issues, Wal-Mart Says in Ad
(Bloomberg) -- Wal-Mart de Mexico published an ad in one of the country’s leading newspapers Wednesday encouraging other companies to obey the law and pay their taxes, in what appeared to be part of a deal to avoid federal criminal fraud charges.
Walmex, as the company is known, said in the ad published on page three of the daily Reforma that it reached a deal with the finance ministry to pay 8.1 billion pesos to tax authorities to settle “substantial tax issues” that included the sale of a restaurant chain.
“With this, [Walmex] reiterates its commitment to operate in adherence to the legal framework, just as all companies should,” according to the ad, which was signed by the company’s legal representative Alberto Sepulveda.
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has refused to provide massive fiscal aid to companies during the coronavirus outbreak, and has instead pushed ahead with a campaign to crack down on tax evasion. Tax officials brokered deals worth at least $1 billion from major companies in a little over a month, but revenue has begun to slump due to the economic collapse that followed shutdowns to contain the outbreak.
In late May, Walmex informed the market of the settlement. The company agreed to pay up after Mexico’s tax prosecutor threatened to file criminal tax fraud charges over the 2014 sale of the Vips restaurant chain to Alsea SAB, which operates Domino’s Pizza and Starbucks outlets in Mexico and elsewhere, three people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.
Mexico’s top tax prosecutor Carlos Romero Aranda declined to confirm that Walmex had faced fraud charges in an interview with Bloomberg News last month. But he did say that companies which made deals to avoid criminal fraud charges would have to publish such ads as part of their restitution.
A Walmex representative didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
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