Court decision to freeze Entel’s assets angers Telecom Italia

17 Oct 2005

Telecom Italia (TI) has criticised a Bolivian court’s decision to freeze the assets of Entel Bolivia, arguing that the USD9.7 million in unpaid wages and social benefits allegedly owed by the company pre-dates its acquisition of Entel in 1996 and relates to its time as a state-owned entity. Entel spokesman Juan León told BNamericas that the court’s decision was ‘sheer idiocy’ and ‘utterly unfounded’ before adding: ‘The government issued a decree in 1995 that said that all the liabilities of all state-owned companies that were to be capitalised would be taken over by the national treasury. Entel was capitalised five months later, and so the judge’s decision to seize Entel’s assets did not take into account the law nor the decree.’ The court ruling took effect on Wednesday and affects Entel’s movable assets, although the operator plans to counter sue for damages.

Bolivia, Empresa Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (Entel)