A Panamanian court has seized the assets of Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim's local infrastructure company over a dispute surrounding a concession for a hydroelectric plant, an official said Monday.
The move follows a ruling by Panama's fifth-circuit civil court in favor of Panamanian businessman Julio Cesar Lisac, who filed suit in 2006 claiming that then-president Martin Torrijos had stripped his company, Mina Hydro-Power Corp, of its concession to operate the plant and granted it to Slim.
Lisac accused Slim's company of carrying out industrial espionage to copy his project.
"All property and assets of Ideal Panama SA have been seized," court administrator Rogelio Cruz told AFP.
The Bajo de Mina hydroelectric plant "will not be run by Ideal Panama SA but by a court administrator named by the judge," he said.
Panama's Supreme Court ruled in favor of Lisac in 2011, but the sentence was never executed.
The plant, which cost more than $200 million to build, according to Cruz, has monthly earnings of $3 million to $4 million.
There was no immediate reaction from Ideal Panama SA.
Slim, the founder of telecommunications giant America Movil, has an estimated net worth of $72 billion, making him the world's second-richest person after Bill Gates, according to Forbes magazine.