July 11, 2017 / 12:38 PM / a year ago

Colombian judge suspends sale of ETB phone company; appeal likely

BOGOTA, July 11 (Reuters) - A Colombian judge late on Monday suspended attempts by Bogota to sell its ETB telephone company, citing irregularities in the approval process, but the capital city plans to appeal the decision.

The government of Bogota is seeking to sell its controlling stake of 86.36 percent of Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Bogota for at least 2.38 trillion pesos ($776 million) to finance social investment projects.

In issuing its ruling, the Fourth Administrative Court said the sale process proposed by Bogota Mayor Enrique Penalosa and carried out by the city council did not comply with the law, media and local government sources said.

The sale process began in May, and the city was expected to strike a deal by October.

ETB provides services of fixed and mobile telephony, Internet and television in Bogota as well as fiber optics for the center of the country.

“We will appeal the judge’s decision immediately, and we have 10 days to prepare our arguments,” Dalila Hernandez, legal director at the mayor’s office, told daily newspaper El Tiempo. (Reporting by Nelson Bocanegra; Writing by Helen Murphy; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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