Venezuela Says It Has Taken 20% Stake in TV Network Globovision

Venezuela took control of a company that holds a 20 percent stake in television network Globovision, which has been critical of President Hugo Chavez’s regime, a government statement said today.

Venezuela’s deposit guarantee fund took administrative control of Sindicato Avila, C.A., one of the companies that make up Corpomedios GV Inversiones, which owns Globovision, according to a resolution published in the Official Gazette yesterday. The deposit guarantee fund will be able to claim dividends and attend shareholder meetings, the statement said.

Globovision’s principal owners, Guillermo Zuloaga and Nelson Mezerhane, are both in the U.S. after arrest warrants were filed in Venezuela against them. Mezerhane, whose Banco Federal CA and other companies were seized by the government, is accused of fleeing with clients’ deposits and Zuloaga faces usury allegations for hoarding new vehicles at his Caracas residence, according to the Attorney General. Both men have denied any wrongdoing.

Chavez on Nov. 21 said he would “take actions” against Globovision if Zuloaga doesn’t return to face legal charges.

“Sindicato Avila, C.A. owns only 20 percent of Corpomedios’ shares, a percentage that doesn’t give it the ability to assign board members or to influence its management,” Globovision said in a statement posted on its website today. Calls to the network by Bloomberg weren’t answered.

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