Bogota mayor to be investigated for EEB share plunge

Colombia’s Prosecutor General has assigned a specialist in crimes against national wealth to investigate the mayor of Bogota Gustavo Petro, Colombia media reported Tuesday.

Mayor Petro is alleged to have caused economic panic by announcing the merger of Bogota’s public utilities companies ETB, EEB and EAAB ,which provide telecommunications, electricity, and sewerage services respectively.

The price of shares in EEB fell by 17% in three days in early December 2011 after Petro detailed his merger plans, which were part of his election manifesto. Petro blamed the fall in share prices on external economic factors.

Lawyer Jaime Granados, who made the accusation, said the mayor’s annoucements “caused economic panic in the value of the shares in the Colombia Stock Exchange, putting at risk the legal, economic and social good of the shareholders of the above [companies]” — as well as risking the well-being of the beneficiaries of the public services they provided.

The lawyer went on to say that according to the law, anybody who gives false or incorrect information which affects the value of shares has committed a financial crime, and could serve a sentence in prison of between 12 and 17 and a half years.

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