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Hondutel moves to accelerate US$18mn lawsuit

Bnamericas Published: Tuesday, July 01, 2003
Honduran state-run fixed line operator Hondutel has hired a new law firm to try to speed up a lawsuit to claim US$18mn in unpaid interconnection fees from US-based carrier Trescom, Honduran daily El Tiempo reported. The debt dates back five years and the case has dragged on because the last administration made the mistake of hiring lawyers based in Houston despite filing the lawsuit in Miami, the paper quoted Hondutel CEO Alonso Valenzuela as saying. Trescom itself confirmed the discrepancy Hondutel found between the traffic carried and actually paid up for the year 1998. According to Valenzuela, Trescom said it had issued the US$5.5mn due that year through an intermediary firm called Alcor. However, Alcor only delivered US$500,000, he said, adding that in any case, the use of payment intermediaries was not stipulated in the interconnection contract with Trescom. According to the new lawyers, the case is in an out-of-court negotiation phase which expires at year-end, and after which the judge is duty-bound to take charge. Litigation has become an important part of Hondutel's strategy this year. The company recently got tough with AT&T (NYSE: T), suspending interconnection over claims that AT&T has outstanding debts of US$25mn dating back to 1982.

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