BlackRock to buy Mexican fund tied to scandal-hit contractor

BlackRock (BLK.N), the world’s largest asset manager, plans to buy a Mexican infrastructure investment fund that financed projects for a contractor at the center of a scandal which embroiled President Enrique Pena Nieto.

The asset manager announced its deal to buy Infraestructura Institucional on Friday, but gave no details.

It will pay around 1.1 billion pesos ($71 million) and keep the fund’s key senior management, said a person familiar with the deal, who declined to be named as the terms were not public.

Two of the six projects listed in Infraestructura Institucional’s most recent quarterly filing were built by companies owned by Juan Armando Hinojosa, the contractor who was reported last year to be selling a luxury home to Pena Nieto’s wife and who also sold a house to Finance Minister Luis Videgaray.

Hinojosa’s companies have won hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of public contracts during Pena Nieto’s 2005-2011 governorship of the State of Mexico and his presidency, but the government insists nothing untoward has occurred.

BlackRock’s purchase of the fund would make it a partner with Hinojosa in one of the projects, a hospital in the State of Mexico, according to a source.

Executives from Infraestructura Institucional did not respond to requests for comment.

“Consistent with its disciplined approach to any transaction, BlackRock conducts extensive due diligence and we are excited about the future of our infrastructure platform in Mexico,” BlackRock spokesman Brian Beades said.

Hinojosa could not immediately be reached for comment.

(Reporting by Christine Murray; Additional reporting by Max de Haldevang; Editing by Simon Gardner and Paul Simao)


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