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Sparring with leftist front-runner, Mexico's Slim defends airport project

From Reuters - April 16, 2018

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim sparred on Monday with the countrys presidential front-runner over the Mexico City airport his companies are helping build, saying the leftists threats to halt the $13 billion project would be a setback for the economy.

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who leads opinion polls ahead of the July 1 election, has said he will scrap the project, designed by architect Norman Foster and Slims son-in-law,charging that corruption and high costs make it unviable.

Slims family controls one of Latin Americas largest companies, America Movil. Companies owned by his family are co-designing, co-building and co-financing the airport project.

In a two-hour news conference at his offices in Mexico City, Slim said suspending the airport construction would halt growth in Mexicos economy.

The rationale of the airport project is indisputable. I dont see many alternatives, he said, adding that he was not talking to any of the presidential candidates.

Lopez Obrador responded by reiterating that the project could be done more cheaply at an existing military airport. He accused Slim of speaking on behalf of President Enrique Pena Nieto to stop the advancement of his political party, Morena.

Hes a businessman, so hes defending his interests, but Im going to be president of Mexico and Ill defend the interests of the people.

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