In the latest chapter of a long-standing legal dispute between two Mexican broadcasters, TV Azteca has pressed criminal charges against Canal 40 legal counsel Javier Quijano for alleged slander.


MEXICO CITY (The Hollywood Reporter) -- In the latest chapter of a long-standing legal dispute between two Mexican broadcasters, TV Azteca has pressed criminal charges against Canal 40 legal counsel Javier Quijano for alleged slander.

In a company statement released late Sept. 14, Mexico's No. 2 network accused Quijano of making "damaging" statements that "could harm" Azteca's reputation.

Quijano made recent statements to local media claiming Azteca had "bought off" a Mexico City district court judge, who recently ruled that Azteca has ownership rights to indie station Canal 40.

The charge carries jail time or a fine if Quijano is found guilty.

The two companies had a programming and advertising agreement that fell apart in 2000. Since then, the broadcasters have been squabbling over ownership rights.

In July, Canal 40 received a 53 million-peso ($4.9 million) loan offer from General Electric Mexico to settle a labor dispute that has forced the cash-strapped network off the air for several months. Azteca claims the loan offer is illegal, maintaining that it would allow GE subsidiary Telemundo to enter the Mexican market. Mexican law prohibits foreigners from owning controlling shares of electronic media companies.

GE Mexico said it has no intentions to acquire Canal 40.