Friday 9 December 2016

Ganley to sue Mexico over €6bn phones deal

Bid papers 'stolen by hijacker' in capital's business district

Published 06/11/2016 | 02:30

Claims: Declan Ganley Photo: Frank Mc Grath
Claims: Declan Ganley Photo: Frank Mc Grath

Declan Ganley - who rose to prominence in Ireland during his high-profile opposition to the 2008 Lisbon Treaty - has launched a multi-million euro legal action against the Mexican state.

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It follows claims his company, Rivada Networks, was "stitched up" while bidding to build a $7bn (€6.2bn) mobile network in the country.

Mr Ganley alleges a mystery hijacker on a motorcycle attempted to steal his consortium's bidding documents for the Red Compartida mobile network project.

It is claimed the incident took place while the papers were being delivered to the relevant authorities in Mexico City on October 17.

Mr Ganley alleges the motorcyclist took the "bid boxes" from one of his staff and passed them to a waiting car, before both "disappeared into the traffic". While nobody was harmed during the alleged incident, he says it was extremely "disconcerting for the security of our staff".

However, Mr Ganley stressed the boxes stolen were empty for security reasons, and that his bid was in fact delivered separately, and made the relevant deadline.

He said that having done business in Russia as a young man he is especially conscious of security considerations in certain situations.

It is claimed Mexican authorities, through its Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (SCT), are refusing to consider the bid which Rivada submitted, claiming it did not contain a "letter of credit" for 1 billion pesos (€47.2.5m).

But Mr Ganley insists he submitted the necessary and relevant documentation.

"We are fully compliant. We have submitted a fully compliant bid. This is supposed to be a competition. But it is hardly a competition if there is only one entry. We provided a guarantee of over $200m (€180m)with the submittal of the bid. And we have provided a cash-backed letter of credit to the tune of one billion pesos which is what they asked for. "We have put cash on deposit in a major Mexican bank to back that letter of credit, so they have that."

Speaking to the Sunday Independent, he said it is "dubious and perplexing" that the authorities are refusing to consider his company's bid. Mr Ganley says Rivada will now file a lawsuit against the Mexican state to get readmitted to the bidding process.

He had also alleged the result is being manipulated in favour of his bidding rivals. He stressed all he wants is "a fair shake" in the whole process.

Red Compartida is part of a plan to build a new 4G wholesale network to lessen the influence of multi-billionaire Carlos Slim on Mexico's mobile market. The new network would be open to all operators except Mr Slim's America Movil.

Rivada's rival bidder for the project - the Altan consortium comprising Mexican companies Megacable and Axtel - is currently the only bid being assessed according to the authorities.

Sunday Independent

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