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Ecuador: Government Seizes Companies for Debt Collection


Image Credit: Presidencia del Ecuador and used under a Creative Commons license

The Ecuadoran government seized hundreds of businesses, including three television channels, in a move that attracted national and international attention. Much of the media focuses on the fact that that television stations were targeted, however, the government says that it is a preventative decision in order to collect debts. The Treasury Minister, Fausto Ortíz resigned because he did not agree with the seizure, and was replaced by Wilma Salgado, who claims that this was an administrative measure that seems to safeguard the public interest.

Some are obviously concerned that television channels were among those closed, and may curb free speech. Many others are trying to associate the incident with political issues in Venezuela, such as the closure of the RCTV channel. However, many more seem to agree with the government's decision, not because of the seizure of TC Television, Gamavision, Satnet, but because of to whom these channels belong. The Isaias family are at the center of attention, and as a result of this seizure the country is in the process of recovering some of the 600 million dollars that they lost when Filanbanco went into bankruptcy, and which also belonged to the Isaias brothers, who are now living comfortably in Miami.

Let's see what bloggers are saying about these controversial seizures.

Gabby Salas [es], quotes the article from the Deposit Guarantee Agency (AGD), which outlines the circumstances for the seizure of 195 businesses and companies for illegal accounting practices for, “altering their balance sheets or collecting interest rates on interest to ensure their personal wealth with deposits from the financial institution.” As a result, the AGD may seize those assets property of those shareholders and transfered to a trust.

La Voz de Guamote [es], agrees that the seizure of the properties and companies from the Isaias family is legal.

La Federación Nacional de Periodistas del Ecuador y el Colegio de Periodistas de Pichincha consideraron que la incautación de los bienes y empresas del grupo Isaías, entre los que se cuentan tres canales de televisión, “está enmarcada en los instrumentos legales” y que “nada tiene que ver con la ‘libertad de expresión', que ha sido argüida por algunos sectores”.

The National Federation of Journalists of Ecuador and the College of Journalists of Pichincha believes that the seizure of assets and businesses of the Isaías gropu, which includes three TV channels, “is framed within the legal framework” and that “nothing has to do with ‘freedom of expression', which has been argued by some sectors. “

Technodatum [es] a blog that specializes on technology provides a roundup of what Ecuadoran bloggers are commenting about this important news:

Como comentábamos hace un mes, la concesión de las frecuencias radiales del sistema de emisoras Cadenar -a la que pertenece Radio Sucre- no fué renovada y fué clausurada a las 22h00 de ayer por la intendenta de policía.

As we commented a month ago, the granting of radio frequencies from the broadcast system Cadenar, which belongs to Radio Sucre-was not renewed and was closed at 22h00 yesterday by the chief of police.

La Alharaca [es], quoting a post from El Manaba, publishes the feelings and views of one of the employees of TC Television who argues the Isaias debt is not even close to 600 millions dollars.

…A lo sumo podria ser 1 millon o 2 pero no 600, porque te lo digo, el Banco Filanbanco quedo con liquidez, eso quiere decir que habia plata dentro del banco cuando el gobierno lo incauto, y despues de que el estado paso a propiedad del estado, el administrador del primer año revitalizo el Banco y dio “100 MILLONES de utilidades”, esto lo puedes confirmar con quien tu quieras y que halla trabajado en el Filanbanco, explicame como un Banco que esta perdido y que esta quebrado da 100 millones de dolares de ganancia al primer año de administracion estatal, y luego quiebra por una inepta fusion con el Banco “La Previsora” ese si quebrado.

… At the most, it could be 1 million or 2 but not 600, because I tell you, the Bank Filanbanco keeps its liquidity, which means there was money at the bank when the government seized, and after when the state transferred it to state property, the administrator in the first year revitalized the Bank by giving it “100 million dollars of capital “, that you can confirm with whomever you want who worked in Filanbanco. Explain to me how a bank that is losing money and bankrupt, can record 100 million dollars in profit during its first year of state administration, and then later declare bankruptcy for an inept merger with”La Previsora” bank, which is bankrupt.

CronicaCero [es], asks its readers, are you with the thieves or with the justice system. He also mocks how the Isiaís managed their business from Miami:

Los Isaías manejaban desde Miami, con testaferros, una serie de empresas y en Ecuador es como si nada pasaba… saben por qué PORQUE ERAN Y SON PARTE DE LA OLIGARQUÍA GUAYAQUILEÑA QUE ESTÁ ENQUISTADA EN EL PODER… Y LAS SORPRESAS VAN SALIENDO

The Isaiah managed a number of companies in Ecuador from Miami under different names, as if nothing happened … and do you know why? it was because they are part of the Guayaquil oligarchy that is entrenched in power…and the surprises keep coming

  • Brian Reilly

    I was very close to the Isaias brothers a school in the U.S. I would like to know how to get in touch with them. Can you help me?
    Thank you,
    Brian Reilly

  • Rachel Page

    It’s a very drastic move. Nevertheless, it’s necessary. Businesses should pay their obligations to the government just like the average citizens. Attorney San Antonio

  • Karen Patrick

    I am pretty sure that they received several warnings before the arrest. They should have negotiated to avoid this.

    Karen

  • Eric Wright

    You raise important points. That’s why we should not mess with the government.

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