MEXICO CITY – A ship considered key to the financial restructuring of Mexican oil services firm Oceanografia, which the government seized last year after it allegedly defrauded U.S. financial giant Citigroup’s local unit out of hundreds of millions of dollars, has gone missing, a judge said.
“The vessel Caballo Maya has been taken from its place of storage, and its whereabouts is unknown,” Mexico City-based federal Judge Felipe Consuelo, who is presiding over Ciudad del Carmen, Mexico-based Oceanografia’s bankruptcy proceedings, said Thursday.
He added that the ship is “a key piece” in restructuring the company’s debts and getting it operating again.
Consuelo’s court said it has notified the Seido, the organized-crime division of Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office; and the Asset Administration and Alienation Service so they can take all necessary measures to locate the vessel.
The judge added that the missing ship is causing a delay in implementing the creditors’ agreement and a continuation of the asset seizures, a situation affecting more than 14,000 workers.
On Thursday night, local media said the ship had been found in the anchorage area of the Gulf coast port of Veracruz, more than 14 kilometers (8.7 miles) from land, but authorities have not confirmed that information.
Oceanografia was granted bankruptcy protection in July 2014 after it failed to make payments to several creditors.
A provider of well repair and maintenance services to state-owned oil company Petroleos Mexicanos, the company is under investigation for allegedly using false invoices to obtain loans from Banamex, the Mexican unit of Citigroup, which said in February 2014 that it discovered its subsidiary had been defrauded out of $400 million.