Oceanografia Mediator Said to Deny Some Citigroup Claims

The Mexican mediator in oil-services company Oceanografia SA’s bankruptcy has rejected at least 2 billion pesos ($150 million) of claims sought by Citigroup Inc., said a person with knowledge of the matter.

Citigroup had sought about 7.7 billion pesos of claims in the case, said the person, who asked not to be named because the findings aren’t public. The government-appointed mediator, Jose Antonio de Anda Turati, excluded some of the New York-based bank’s claims because it didn’t provide sufficient documentation to support them, the person said.

The mediator’s decision marks the latest setback for Citigroup’s Mexican unit, Banamex, since it disclosed in February a $360 million pretax loss on loans to Oceanografia linked to fraud. Earlier this month, Citigroup said that Javier Arrigunaga resigned as Banamex chief executive officer because of “challenges” at the unit this year. Prosecutors have obtained arrest warrants for at least three former Banamex executives amid regulatory and criminal probes of the fraud.

Paulo Carreno, a Mexico City-based spokesman for Banamex, referred a request for comment to Mark Costiglio, a Citigroup spokesman in New York, who declined to comment.

De Anda Turati, who was appointed by the Mexican government to draw up the official list of creditors, didn’t respond to an e-mailed request for comment.

With more than 5 billion pesos of claims that were accepted by the mediator, Citigroup remains the biggest creditor in Oceanografia’s bankruptcy case, the person said. De Anda Turati recognized about 20 billion pesos of claims from all creditors, the person said. Citigroup’s claims were not granted priority status, meaning they will be subordinated to others including workers, social security, fiscal authorities and bondholders, the person said.

100 Boxes

The bank presented its claims to the mediator in September along with more than 100 small boxes of supporting documents, de Anda Turati said at the time.

The mediator submitted the list of creditors on Oct. 10 to the bankruptcy judge for approval, the person said. Citigroup would still have a chance to appeal.

Oceanografia owns a fleet of ships that provide offshore drilling support to the government oil company, Petroleos Mexicanos, known as Pemex. The government seized Ciudad del Carmen-based Oceanografia following the Citigroup accusations, saying jobs had to be protected and critical oil-servicing operations preserved.

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