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Remigio Ángel González González

Remigio Ángel González González

Better known as "El fantasma", this businessman owns an extensive network of media in Latin America. González was born in Nuevo León, Mexico, but it was in Guatemala that he began his career in the industry as an advertising salesman on a television channel in the 1970s.

His rise was due to a combination of strategy and good networking: in addition to acquiring television signals at a relatively low price to broadcast commercially successful content, González has known how to befriend the right politicians at the right time.

Well summarized by the magazine Proceso in a 2017 article: its formula is "simple and highly profitable: buy cheap television channels, produce little and guarantee loyalty and submission to the rulers in turn, whether general, civil, right or from left. His only ideology is the expansion of his business".

This is how the Albavisión consortium was created, "the first media network by affiliation in Latin America," as defined on its website. This group has 45 television channels, 68 radio stations, 65 cinematic screening rooms and a newspaper, El Comercio, in Ecuador. For that reason, although the list of MOM Mexico does not include any media of González, its figure and the scope of its mediatic empire are keys to understand the panorama of the media property in the continent.

The power of Albavisión extends from north to south: starting in Mexico, going through Central America and the Caribbean –Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama–, until reaching South America –Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Chile, Argentina and Uruguay–. In each country and region, it operates with local companies, such as Telsusa (Tele Emisoras del Sureste S.A.), in Mexico. His nickname, "El fantasma", is not only because he has manage to keep a low profile, but mainly because he often uses frontmen in his business.

In 2017, González starred in several journalistic reports in Mexico, thanks to Telsusa being left with 12 channels in the digital open television tender conducted by the Instituto Federal de Comunicaciones (IFT). The concessions won include places in states such as Puebla, Tlaxcala, Nuevo Leon, Campeche, Veracruz, Yucatan, among others. His participation in this public offer came to be questioned, since there were serious suspicions about his business ties with other media giants. In the end, the commissioners of the IFT decided in favor in a close vote of 4 against 3.

Almost a year later, in mid-2018, the United States House of Representatives asked the White House to investigate González –who is also a US citizen residing in Florida– for possible acts of corruption in Guatemala. In 2016, the Public Prosecutor's Office and the Comisión Internacional contra la Impunidad en Guatemala (CICIG) revealed the sophisticated money laundering network to raise funds during the electoral campaign of the Patriotic Party (PP), which brought Otto Pérez Molina to power in 2011.

González was one of the main contributors to this plot, illegally financing the PP with more than 2 million dollars, between 2008 and 2011. In gratitude, "El fantasma" and its television channels received juicy advertising contracts from the government of Otto Pérez, valued at about 27 million dollars.

Facts

Family & Friends

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Luis Rabbé Tejada - This Guatemalan politician and businessman is indicated as one of the main partners of Remigio González in Guatemala. Rabbé is the brother of the first wife of "El Fantasma", who died in a traffic accident. Among the positions he has held is that of communications minister and president of the Guatemalan Congress. In July 2018 Rabbé was arrested in Mexico, as he was wanted by the authorities of his country, accused of corruption.

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