OHL Mexico Said to Be Probed by Nation’s Market Regulator

Updated on

OHL Mexico SAB is being probed by Mexico’s securities regulator after the disclosure of tape recordings that purportedly showed executives discussing ways to trick the government into allowing toll hikes, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said.

All of OHL Mexico’s concessions will be examined as part of the inquiry by the regulator known as CNBV, which plans a special visit to company offices, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the details aren’t public. The probe began last week, the other person said.

The taped conversations were posted in YouTube videos in recent weeks. The recordings, annotated with the names of the speakers and dates and times of the phone calls, appear to show executives discussing plans to trick State of Mexico officials into approving toll-rate increases based on construction costs that may take years to materialize.

The company, a unit of Spanish builder Obrascon Huarte Lain SA, has said the recordings were illegally taped and maliciously edited. While OHL Mexico has denied any management misconduct, it has started an internal probe into the matter.

“OHL would welcome any investigation from the CNBV,” the company said in an e-mail, declining to say whether a probe had been started. “We would fully collaborate and we are very pleased as this is in line with the agreements made by the audit committee of the company last Monday.”

Jorge Palacios, the CNBV’s vice chairman of technical supervision, declined to comment, citing an agency policy of not commenting on whether investigations are underway.

The CNBV regulates Mexico’s publicly-traded companies to ensure they meet exchange-listing standards.

(Updates with regulator no comment in sixth paragraph.)
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