World's richest man fined $1bn for abusing phone monopoly

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The Independent US

Mexico's competition authorities have levied a $1bn (£600m) fine against a company belonging to Carlos Slim, the world's richest man, ordering it to stop unfair practices. The Federal Competition Commission found Telcel engaged in "relative monopolistic practices" by overcharging competitors to connect calls to Telcel users.

The commission said the fine was the largest levied by the 18-year-old watchdog agency and was made possible by a 2006 reform that raised fines for repeat offenders. The maximum penalty – 10 per cent of the company's assets – was applied because Telcel was a repeat offender, the agency said. It gave the company 30 days to say how it would change its practices and 30 days in which to appeal.

Telcel engages in relative monopolist practices "by abusing its substantial power in the market to unfairly displace its competitors and thus affect the competition process in the landline and cellphone markets, hurting the consumer", the watchdog said.

Named the richest man in the world by Fortune magazine, with an estimated $74bn, Mr Slim, 71, also controls Mexico's dominant landline phone company, Telmex. He has holdings in communications, retail, manufacturing, oil and construction.