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Former Mine Director Appears In Court

August 31, 1989

MEXICO CITY (AP) _ The former director of Mexico’s largest copper mine is among 20 people arrested in an investigation into mismanagement of the bankrupt state enterprise, officials said Wednesday.

Carlos David Ortigosa, spokesman for the federal attorney general’s office, said Emilio Ocampo Arenal, director of the Cananea mine until last March, appeared before a judge Wednesday night to testify. Ortigosa said Ocampo would be jailed afterward.

″Other people implicated are being investigated,″ Ortigosa told The Associated Press by telephone. ″Twenty have been detained.″

The attorney general’s office said the government was investigating ″a series of possibly fraudulent acts, embezzlement and other illicit acts the company suffered and attributable to diverse people from 1983 to 1988.″ No charges has been filed.

It said the government obtained statements from employees at the bankrupt mine that accused Ocampo of receiving undeclared commissions on foreign sales of copper.

The mine was declared bankrupt Aug. 20, throwing 3,200 miners out of work. The federal government, a 90 percent owner in the open-pit operation, sent 3,000 soldiers to close the mine site, 25 miles south of the Arizona border. The soliders were later withdrawn.

The closing came one week before the miners had scheduled a strike to pressure for their demands representing a 330 percent wage-and-benefit increase.

The government is seeking a buyer for the operation.

Miners and politicians have called for an investigation of the union’s management to determine how the company became insolvent.

The Excelsior news service said Ocampo is son-in-law of former President Luis Echeverria, who served from 1970 to 1976.

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