OHL Mexico officer resigns in wake of recordings scandal
By Chris Sleight13 May 2015
OHL Mexico executive Pablo Wallentin has resigned after recordings surfaced on the Internet purportedly detailing wrong-doing by the company.
In the recordings, posted on YouTube, Mr Wallentin is alleged to have offered a stay at a luxury hotel to a government official, which the official subsequently rejected. A second recording purportedly reveals company executives discussing how to present false information to the State in order to increase tolls on the Viaducto Bicentenario link, for which it holds the concession.
The source of the recordings and the identity of the person who posted them on YouTube is not clear. OHL also says the recordings were obtained illegally and that the versions published on the Internet have been edited, taking comments out of context.
Trading in OHL Mexico shares were temporarily suspended when the story broke. The company has since appointed an external auditor to investigate the allegations made in the recordings and by local media. A statement said the company had “Agreed to accept the voluntary resignation of Mr Pablo Wallentin as officer of the company so as not to hinder investigations and/or damage the company’s image stemming from his invitation to a State of Mexico official.”
The company has appointed an external auditor to investigate the allegations. It has also launched a number of initiatives which it says are designed to increase transparency. It says it will appoint a director of compliance and a director of social responsibility & communication, as well as reviewing its code of ethics, among other measures.
The majority owner of OHL Mexico is Spanish contractor OHL. OHL Mexico’s shares have fallen sharply since the story broke.