(Bloomberg) -- A Mexico City judge has temporarily frozen Mexican assets of funds run by top global private equity firm Advent International Corp as part of an investigation into fraud allegations over the sale of Mexican funeral service provider Gayosso in 2021.
In a non-public order to the economy ministry’s registry of assets dated Nov. 18, the judge informed officials that had had frozen shares and assets of four companies in which Advent funds have a stake, including Banca Mifel SA, a small Mexican bank that is among the bidders for Citigroup’s Mexican retail arm Banamex, and Grupo Farmaceutico Somar SAPI, which Advent said its was selling in May. The other companies are pension fund InverCap Holdings SA and agrochemical maker Viakem SA.
The embargo is in place until Dec. 6, but the judge can extend the order, according to the document seen by Bloomberg News. Another document seen by Bloomberg showed an original order to embargo Somar assets was issued on Oct. 7, the same day arrest warrants had been issued in the case.
Advent declined to comment on the order. Mexico City’s prosecutors’ office said it doesn’t comment on ongoing investigations.
The asset and share freeze doesn’t affect the daily operations of the companies.
Advent is facing a civil suit as well as a criminal complaint from Servicios Funerarios GG, which had bought Gayosso from other funds run by the private equity firm last year. Servicios Funerarios GG claimed Advent hid debt, mostly related to pre-sold funeral packages, according to judicial documents.
Last month, the same judge issued arrest warrants for six people, including current and former Advent executives, following an investigation by Mexico City prosecutors.
Advent said previously that the criminal proceedings were without merit and an attempt to add pressure in the civil lawsuit. Advent’s outside representative in Mexico further said previously that Servicios Funerarios GG had engaged in 15 months of talks, including a complete process of due diligence where it had complete access to company executives and records.
Carlos Paz, an Advent executive in Mexico, filed an injunction on Nov. 7 to block the arrest warrant issued for him, according to publicly available court records. Paz has sought a hearing with the judge who ordered the arrest warrant, according to a filing from Nov. 24.
Paz didn’t respond to emails seeking comment.
(Updates with related order in third paragraph)
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