ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON THE
INVESTIGATIONS INTO PERALTA'S $50 MILLION PAYMENT TO RAUL SALINAS AND THE
PERALTA/BELL ATLANTIC DEAL:
(a summary by FRONTLINE correspondent Lowell Bergman)
1) WHY WOULD CARLOS PERALTA GIVE RAUL SALINAS THAT KIND OF MONEY?
The press and prosecutors in the U.S. and Mexico have focused on the cell phone
franchise for half of Mexico City that had been granted to Peralta who in a
series of deals -- using the services of Wall Street's formidable Blackstone
Group -- turned around and sold 42% of that franchise for 1.2 billion
The investor was the telecommunications giant, Bell Atlantic, and the deal represented the largest single investment - at that time - for President Carlos
Salinas's free trade policy. But Carlos Salinas and Carlos Peralta weren't the only ones who profited from the deal:
> Peralta paid Salinas intimate, Carlos Hank Rohn, $100 million as part of
The deal giving him a $90 million profit. Hank Rohn owned the franchise for
Guadalajara and that was included in the purchase. He paid $10 million for
> The Wall Street firm Blackstone, pocketed another $60 million plus.
The Blackstone group received a $30 million dollar fee for arranging the deal.
The additional funds came from a very unusual loan made by Blackstone to
Sources close to Blackstone and the deal acknowledge that the "bridge loan" was
rare for them. Peralta, they say, needed $100 million to buy "other properties"
[e.g. The Hank Rohn franchise] to put together his package for Bell Atlantic.
For some reason the multi-billionaire and his father, Alejo, were unable to
arrange their own. The loan was for one year with no prepayment possibility at
a 30% rate. Peralta then turned around and paid the loan off early. Thus, $30
million more in profit.
Blackstone's CEO and major partner is Pete Peterson, the former Secretary of
Commerce under Nixon and currently the President of the Council on Foreign
A source close to Peterson says that the loan involved "other participants" who
were brought in by Blackstone.
The information on the Blackstone profit and involvement has never been
2) THE PAYMENTS TO RAUL SALINAS:
After the first payment of $500 million plus by Bell Atlantic to Peralta, he
used some of his remaining shares in Lusacell (the holder of the cell phone
franchise) to finance a $50 million loan from Banamex. The proceeds were then
wired to Raul Salinas' accounts.
Later Bell Atlantic paid the additional funds due [over $500 million] to
Peralta. This included buying the shares used as collateral in Peralta's $50
million dollar loan. It appears he was able to make a profit and reduce the
cost of the payment to Raul Salinas as a result.
Bell Atlantic's internal files indicate they were concerned over all the
payments particularly those to Blackstone because they affected the financial
resources of the company -- Lusacell.
These Bell Atlantic files and others have been turned over to a federal grand
jury in Manhattan pursuant to subpoena issued at the request of the U.S. Attorney
in the southern district of New York.
Bell Atlantic acknowledge "knowing" that Peralta was securing a loan with
shares in Lusacell. There is no evidence they knew the proceeds were sent to
Note: Pres. Carlos Salinas met personally with Bell Atlantic executives
while the deal was in progress.
Peralta and Raul Salinas insist that the $50 million was part of an investment
fund. Salinas never mentioned this to Amy Elliot, his Citibank VP/private
banker according to her deposition. Nor is there any indication that funds were
dispersed from Raul's Swiss accounts or his New York accounts to make
Peralta now has income tax problems in Mexico related to this transfer. Bell
Atlantic has forced him out of a management role in Lusacell which has had
difficulty securing additional franchises and licenses in Mexico since the
scandal around Salinas-Peralta broke.
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