Mexican steelmaker AHMSA says accounts ‘improperly’ frozen by government

The logo of Mexican steelmaker Altos Hornos de Mexico is seen in Monclova
FILE PHOTO – The logo of Mexican steelmaker Altos Hornos de Mexico is seen in Monclova, Mexico August 14, 2018. Picture taken August 14, 2018. REUTERS/Alberto Mendez

May 27, 2019

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Altos Hornos de Mexico, one of Mexico’s largest steelmakers, said on Monday that the Finance Ministry’s Financial Intelligence Unit had “improperly” frozen its bank accounts.

AHMSA, as the steelmaker is known, said the move was “unprecedented, arbitrary and violated (its) rights” and said it would defend its rights.

The Finance Ministry declined to immediately comment on the matter.

AHMSA said it did not know why its bank accounts had been frozen, and “denied all responsibility regarding the improper acts attributed” to the firm.

Investigative news site Quinto Elemento Lab reported last August that AHMSA paid $3.7 million to a shell company allegedly set up by Brazil’s scandal-hit builder Odebrecht.

The Financial Intelligence Unit, under the tutelage of Santiago Nieto, is looking to make good on President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s promise to clean up rampant corruption, money laundering and the financing of organized crime.

(Reporting by Anthony Esposito, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

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