Buffett: Wal-Mart may have made a mistake in Mexico

OMAHA, Neb. Sat May 5, 2012 6:17pm BST

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OMAHA, Neb. May 5 (Reuters) - Warren Buffett on Saturday told Berkshire Hathaway Inc shareholders that he has not changed his opinion about Wal-Mart Stores Inc or its earnings power, but that the world's largest retailer "may well have made a mistake" in handling a Mexico bribery scandal.

Wal-Mart is one of Berkshire's largest common stock holdings. As of Dec. 31, Berkshire's 39.04 million share stake in the retailer was worth about $2.33 billion.

Last month, the New York Times reported that Wal-Mart de Mexico, which is 69 percent owned by Wal-Mart, in the last decade orchestrated a widespread bribery campaign to win market dominance, and that senior Wal-Mart executives knew about the matter and tried to cover it up.

If the allegations are true, then Wal-mart may have violated the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which forbids bribes to foreign government officials. (Reporting By Ben Berkowitz in Omaha; Additional reporting and writing by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Bernard Orr)