March 13, 2019 / 6:46 PM / 5 months ago

Thousands evacuated from BBVA's Mexico City offices after threats

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Nearly 11,000 people were evacuated on Wednesday from the Mexico City offices of Spanish bank BBVA, including one of the capital’s tallest skyscrapers, where police sent in a team of bomb experts following anonymous threats.

A police officer stands guard outside the tower after people were evacuated from the Mexican headquarters of Spain's BBVA due to what the bank said were two anonymous emails threatening violent acts against its corporate offices, in Mexico City, Mexico March 13, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Romero

BBVA said in a statement it did not believe the threats were real, but evacuated its headquarters in the 235-meter (771-foot) Torre Bancomer, as well its Parques Bancomer offices in the upscale Polanco neighborhood as a precaution.

“Fortunately everyone is out of the buildings ... they are all safe,” a BBVA spokesman said.

Myriam Urzua Venegas, the city’s emergency services chief, told local television station TeleDiario both emails and phone calls warned of “a possible explosive device” in the Torre Bancomer. It could also be a false alarm, she added.

A crowd of office workers from the towering office building, a landmark of the Mexico City skyline, milled around sidewalks just before 1 p.m. local time (1900 GMT) along a busy stretch of Paseo de la Reforma boulevard in the city’s capital.

Moises Gutierrez, a police officer at the scene, said a team of around half a dozen experts had not detected any explosive device inside the building almost two hours after entering.

Workers outside the Torre Bancomer, which opened in 2016, said they were told to go home for the day after they received instructions on a loudspeaker to evacuate the building.

“We weren’t told why,” said Cynthia Sanchez, 32, who came down the stairs via an emergency exit from the 14th floor.

The crowd of hundreds of workers outside the tower quickly dispersed leaving a few dozen police and an ambulance with flashing lights at the entrance to the 50-floor tower.

BBVA said its local branches continued to operate normally.

Reporting by Dave Graham; Writing by Anthony Esposito and David Alire Garcia; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel, Jonathan Oatis and Diane Craft

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