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Billionaire Carlos Slim Appeals Record Fine

Telcel, the Mexican cell phone company led by the world's richest man of Lebanese origin Carlos Slim, announced Tuesday it will appeal a record one billion dollar fine imposed by the anti-trust regulator.

"Telcel will use the legal means at its disposal to defend itself," faced with the "opportunistic and excessive" fine, imposed April 15 by the Federal Competition Commission (Cofeco), a statement said.

Telcel was studying other actions it could take against the "illegal resolution," it added.

Cofeco said Monday it had imposed its largest ever fine due to alleged monopolistic practices by Telcel, whose parent company America Movil leads Latin America's cell phone market.

The fine followed an investigation started in 2006 over fees charged for connection fees to wireless networks. A group of 20 rival telecommunications companies had also called in March for Telcel's interconnection fees to be cut.

But Telcel said it was not to blame for the connection rates, arguing the fees been decided in individual deals overseen by the regulator.

Telcel controls 70 percent of Mexico's cell phone market, while America Movil had 225 million subscribers in 18 countries at the end of last year.

The fine was equivalent to 13.2 percent of the 2010 net profits of America Movil, of some 7.8 billion dollars.

Tycoon Slim, 71, last month made the top of the Forbes rich list for a second consecutive year with a fortune of $74 billion.

Source: Agence France Presse


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