May 31, 2014 / 3:30 AM / in 4 years

Mexico's Grupo Imagen buys Club Queretaro

MEXICO CITY, May 30 (Reuters) - Mexican media firm Grupo Imagen said on Friday it had acquired soccer team Club Queretaro, which was seized by Mexican authorities in March after its prior owner was found to be at the center of a fraud scandal.

The Attorney General’s office held former Club Queretaro owner Amado Yanez for questioning in March after Citigroup Inc said it found at least $400 million in bogus loans to Oceanografia, an oil services company majority owned by Yanez. The loans were made by Citigroup’s local unit Banamex.

On Thursday, the Attorney General said it had issued an arrest order for Yanez, who is under police protection in the hospital after undergoing emergency surgery.

On Friday, Olegario Vazquez, director of Grupo Empresarial Angeles, which owns Grupo Imagen, said the acquisition of Club Queretaro represents an important challenge.

“The plan that we have is to provide the team with stability, give it strength and solid results,” he told a local radio station, without disclosing the cost of the deal.

Club Queretaro finished Mexico’s last tournament earlier this month in 13th place with 21 points after six wins, three draws, and eight losses.

Its players, who are still owed several months’ salaries, will continue to be coached by Ignacio Ambriz while Adolfo Rios will be kept on as sports head for the club, according to the newspaper Excelsior, which is owned by Grupo Imagen.

Grupo Imagen, which also owns several television and radio stations, is expected to take part in a government tender for two new national television channels this year aimed at boosting competition in the sector dominated by Televisa.

Both Televisa and TV Azteca own soccer teams.

Mexico’s next soccer tournament begins in July.

Reporting by Noe Torres; Writing by Alexandra Alper; Editing by Matt Driskill

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