The SEC Targets A Mexican Tycoon

Saying that "geographic boundaries will not serve to protect those who seek to defraud investors," the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission on Jan. 4 filed civil charges against TV Azteca (TZA ), Mexico's No. 2 broadcaster, and three top executives and directors of the company. The SEC alleges that Chairman Ricardo Salinas Pliego, 49, violated provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act by carrying out a secret debt transaction for the company's telecom unit, Unefon, that earned him a personal profit of $109 million. Salinas, who rejected several SEC offers to settle the charges, called the allegations "false, in bad faith, and discriminatory." The SEC is seeking to bar Salinas and two other directors from serving as executives or on the board of any company that trades publicly in the U.S. The shares of TV Azteca trade in the U.S. as American depositary receipts.

Edited by Rose Brady

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