The people of Ecuador are rising up to refound their country as a pluri-national homeland for all. This inspiring movement, with Ecuador's indigenous peoples at its heart, is part of the revolution spreading across the Americas, laying the groundwork for a new, fairer, world. Ecuador Rising aims to bring news and analysis of events unfolding in Ecuador to english speakers.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Ecuador seizes failed-bank owners' stocks

QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — Ecuador's government said Monday it would seize a family business group's stock shares in 58 companies to help recover debts generated by the collapse of the family's former bank.

The action comes a little less than a month after authorities seized 200 businesses linked to the family of William and Roberto Isaias, who fled to the United States in 2000 shortly after their bank collapsed. The two face embezzlement charges in Ecuador.

The government announced the latest seizures on Monday. They plan to sell the seized assets to raise money for depositors who lost money in the 1998 collapse of the Filanbanco bank, which caused estimated losses of US$661 million.

Authorities are seizing the family group's shares in the private electric company Electroquil and two publishing companies: Edimpres SA, which prints the national newspaper "Hoy," and the Editorial Minotauro SA, which prints the national daily newspaper "La Hora," the national agency in charge of insuring deposits said in a news release.

Among the nearly 200 businesses seized last month were three television stations, which prompted some to claim the government was attacking freedom of the press. The government denied the assertion.

Other stock shares being seized include those in agricultural, automotive, real estate, tobacco and communications businesses, the agency said Monday. The government did not specify what percentage of shares the group allegedly owns in each company.

In its Web edition Monday, "Hoy" claimed that the Isaias group at one point owned about 1 percent of Edimpres' shares and was one of 279 shareholders. The report did not say how many shares the group currently owns.

Defense attorneys for the Isaias brothers have rejected the seizures, arguing that they are illegal.

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