MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim sparred on Monday with the nation’s presidential front-runner over the Mexico Metropolis airport his corporations are serving to construct, saying the leftist’s threats to halt the $13 billion mission could be a setback for the financial system.
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who leads opinion polls forward of the July 1 election, has mentioned he’ll scrap the mission, designed by architect Norman Foster and Slim’s son-in-law, charging that corruption and excessive prices make it unviable.
Slim’s household controls one in all Latin America’s largest corporations, America Movil. Corporations owned by his household are co-designing, co-building and co-financing the airport mission.
In a two-hour information convention at his places of work in Mexico Metropolis, Slim mentioned suspending the airport building would halt development in Mexico’s financial system.
“The rationale of the airport mission is indeniable. I don’t see many alternate options,” he mentioned, including that he was not speaking to any of the presidential candidates.
Lopez Obrador responded by reiterating that the mission could possibly be completed extra cheaply at an current army airport. He accused Slim of talking on behalf of President Enrique Pena Nieto to cease the development of his political social gathering, Morena.
“He’s a businessman, so he’s defending his pursuits, however I’m going to be president of Mexico and I’ll defend the pursuits of the folks.”
Slim mentioned on Monday that two of his corporations that had contracts, Spain’s FCC and Grupo Carso’s Cicsa, had strict codes of ethics.
“I can guarantee you that we’ve not participated in any act of corruption at any time,” he mentioned.
Lopez Obrador has not been particular on how he believes the alleged corruption passed off, and has dismissed considerations that halting the contracts may create uncertainty, telling traders to not concern him.
Slim proposed that the brand new airport zone, one of many poorest within the metropolitan space, must be developed into parks, procuring facilities and flats.
Confirming a Reuters report from April, Slim mentioned his financial institution Grupo Financiero Inbursa, by its pension fund and different funds, acquired a 43 % stake in an funding belief designed to part-finance the mission.
Slim, who has handed administration of his enterprise banking-to-mining-to telecoms empire to his sons and sons-in-law, mentioned his corporations’ investments totaled eight % of the funding within the airport, and that none of his or his household’s private cash was within the mission.
Reporting by Christine Murray; Further reporting by Noe Torres; Writing by Daina Beth Solomon and Christine Murray; Modifying by Gabriel Stargardter and Peter Cooney