ING Mexican Bank Accounts to Remain Frozen

November 6, 2003

According to news reports, the Mexican bank accounts of ING Comercial América will remain frozen until the dispute with Grupo Fertinal is resolved.

The report follows a ruling by a federal criminal judge, who determined that ING’s accounts could be legally frozen for as long as it takes to settle the lawsuit filed against its Mexican subsidiary by Fertinal. He postponed any hearing on the constitutional validity of the seizure of the accounts until a decision has been reached.

A report from Comtex indicated that ING now hoped that the postponement would give the judicial system a chance to study the case in depth. It quoted Jean Louis López Alberdi, executive director of ING Mexico, as indicating that the company was confident that Mexican authorities would “realize the truth and cancel the undue seizure of the funds.”

The dispute involves a claim by Fertinal that it is owed $300 million from damages caused to its property by Hurricane Juliette in 2001. ING has put the losses at no more than $13 million. Last August a judge in the state of Morelos ordered the arrest of 12 employees on claims by Fertinal that they had diverted reinsurance recoveries. He also ordered that up to $300 million of ING Comercial America’s funds be frozen. So far ING has been unsuccessful in challenging the order both on the judicial and political level.

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