Mexico Moves to Arrest 150 for Illegal Crash-Related Trading

From Associated Press

The government moved Monday to issue arrest warrants for 150 employees of stock brokerage firms on charges of illegal trading related to the October, 1987, stock market crash, the government news agency said.

The Notimex agency quoted Treasury Secretary Pedro Aspe as saying he asked the federal attorney general to issue arrest warrants for employees of the Operadora de Bolsa and Mexicana de Valores e Inversiones firms. The report did not say on what specific charges the arrests were being sought.

An official with the office of Atty. General Enrique Alvarez del Castillo said by telephone that no one was available to comment on the case Monday night.

50 Complaints

Roberto Hoyo D'Addona, the fiscal attorney general, said last week the Treasury Department was investigating reports of illegal trading by all but one of Mexico's 24 registered brokerage firms.

He said his department received 50 complaints of alleged fraud by stockbrokers stemming from the crash. Officials uncovered no evidence of wrongdoing on the Mexican Stock Exchange in five of those cases, he said.

The Treasury Department is responsible for enforcing securities and tax laws, but it must ask the federal attorney general to perform any arrests of suspects.

Illegal trading allegations surfaced after the October, 1987, crash, when Mexico's market index fell by 74% in 28 trading days.

A spokesman for the attorney general said last week that more than 200 investors lodged complaints against stockbrokers alleging that brokers speculated in the market or invested clients' funds without their knowledge.

A congressional panel voted on Wednesday to summon D'Addona, Deputy Attorney General Luis Porte Petit and Oscar Espinosa Villareal, president of the National Securities Commission, to testify about the fraud allegations.

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