Mexican government sues over Banamex allegations

Mexican government sues over Banamex allegations

Mexico’s finance minister on Thursday made good on his threat to charge TV Azteca with securities law violations if it broadcast a documentary charging financial and government improprieties in the 2001 purchase of Mexico’s largest bank by Citigroup.

The documentary was broadcast Tuesday night by TV Azteca despite the warning. The finance minister, who had ties to the bank in question, Banamex, before he became treasury minister in 2000, denied that he applied any kind of pressure to halt the broadcast.

A libel write was filed against TV Azteca’s chairman, Ricardo Salinas Pliego, over allegations made in the documentary. It was also announced that TV Azteca and its directors will be fined 27 million pesos ($2.4 million) for eight violations of Mexican securities laws.

The Treasury was also expected to ask the attorney general’s office to charge Salinas Pliego with fraud over charges that the TV Azteca chairman had used a Delaware company he controlled to purchase Azteca’s debt at a huge discount, which was then repurchased at face value for a personal profit to Salinas Pliego of around $109 million.

TV Azteca already has had a fraud suit filed against it by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in that transaction.

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