WASHINGTON — A federal judge has refused to throw out a lawsuit filed by Asarco against its Mexican owners in a ruling that eventually could help the bankrupt U.S. mining and smelting company recover billions of dollars to help pay off environmental and asbestos-related claims, including hundreds of millions in claims from Washington state.
The lawsuit alleges Americas Mining, a subsidiary of Grupo Mexico, S.A. de C.V., "fraudulently" stripped Asarco LLC of its lucrative holding in two Peruvian copper mines just as Asarco was teetering on the edge of bankruptcy.
The decision by U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen in Brownsville, Texas, clears the way for a trial next spring. In preparing for the trial, Asarco lawyers say they will question members of one of Mexico's wealthiest families, brothers German Larrea Mota-Velasco and Genaro Larrea Mota-Velasco, as part of the case.
The Larrea family controls Grupo Mexico, the largest Mexican mining company and the third-largest producer of copper in the world. The Larrea brothers have been executives of Grupo Mexico, Americas Mining and Asarco. The family is considered one of the 100 or so richest in Mexico, dubbed the "fantasticos" because of their economic, political and social clout.".....