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Mexico antitrust body suspends fine against Slim's Telmex

View of the headquarters of Mexican telephone company Telmex in Mexico City January 7, 2010. REUTERS/Daniel Aguilar
View of the headquarters of Mexican telephone company Telmex in Mexico City January 7, 2010. REUTERS/Daniel Aguilar

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico's competition watchdog said on Wednesday it would temporarily suspend a $53 million fine it had levied against a fixed-line phone company controlled by billionaire Carlos Slim.

The Federal Competition Commission (Cofeco) ordered in February that Telmex, part of Slim's telecoms giant America Movil , should pay 657 million Mexican pesos ($53.4 million) after regulators found it had denied rival Axtel access to some of its network.

Cofeco said on its website that an appeal had been filed and that the fine would be suspended during a review by the regulators.

Telmex has said it believes Cofeco's ruling is unfounded. Slim's legal teams have been able to avoid major rulings against his firms by Cofeco and the country's telecoms regulator, which have both sought for years to curb the dominance of Slim's companies.

Telmex has about 80 percent of Mexico's fixed-line market, while America Movil's Telcel unit controls about 70 percent of the country's mobile phone market.

Mexico's lower house of Congress last month approved a sweeping reform of the industry that aims to give regulators more power to challenge Slim. The Senate is taking up the bill this month.

($1 = 12.3097 Mexican pesos)

(Reporting by Michael O'Boyle; Editing by Tom Pfeiffer)

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