Alejandro del Valle, the main shareholder of troubled carrier Interjet (AIJ, Toluca), was detained at the Club de Industriales, an upscale business club at the JW Marriott Hotel Mexico City, on September 9.

The city’s Attorney General’s Office told local media that agents had filed an arrest warrant against the businessman for probable fraud due to his alleged participation as a co-signer for loans from the consumer financial services firm Crédito Real.

According to Bloomberg News, Crédito Real has found itself in hot water recently over concerns about its accounting, following revelations about large delinquent loans from its small business portfolio. It has MXN56.1 billion pesos (USD2.82 billion) in total debt and its shareholders have been discussing urgent measures to improve its capital.

A civil engineer by profession, del Valle acquired a 90.4% stake in Interjet in December 2020 and assumed the position of president and chairman of the board. He bought the shareholding from co-founder Miguel Alemán Magnani, who is reportedly currently in France and who Interpol issued an international arrest warrant for last month.

Del Valle promised to inject USD150 million into the company, which was already facing serious financial problems before his arrival and which subsequently grounded all flight operations. Interjet has said it has debts of over USD1.25 billion but has consistently appeared determined to resume flights next year.

Financial adviser Argoss Partners submitted a plan to the airline’s management this summer that included a 90% debt write-off, partial repayments to staff, and preliminary deals for new aircraft leases. However, Interjet spokesman Carlos Del Valle told local media on September 9 that the airline had hired a new adviser to assist it in resuming operations by December 2021, using parts of Argoss’s plan.

He said that the arrest of Alejandro del Valle was not linked to the company but rather due to a conflict between individuals involving Crédito Real. According to the newspaper El Financiero, this was linked to a loan he requested to buy the Mexican broadcaster Radiópolis from a company owned by the Alemán family, an operation that allegedly also involved his business partner Carlos Cabal Peniche. Cabal Peniche had also been linked to del Valle’s promise of investment in Interjet but the relationship between the two businessmen soured last year. Two weeks ago, a judge ordered the arrest of Cabal Peniche and his wife, Teresa Pasini Bertán, also for fraud.