Peru net owner hiding after losing citizenship

MEXICO CITY — The owner of one of Peru’s big three networks has been stripped of his citizenship and is in hiding in the United States for political reasons, an anchor at the channel charged.

The fellow investors of Baruch Ivcher are trying to use the political situation to wrest majority control of Frecuencia Latina, also known as Channel 3, away from him, journalist and host of Channel 3’s Sunday political program, Gonzolo Quijandrio, told Daily Variety in a phone interview.

Ivcher, a native of Israel, became a naturalized Peruvian in 1984. The Peruvian Interior Ministry revoked his citizenship Sunday, citing irregularities in his application and the fact that he continued to carry an Israeli passport.

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However, that day Channel 3 broadcast a story about military intelligence engaged in phone wiretapping, targeting politicians, journalists, business leaders, members of the government and artists.

“This is political revenge, political repression for the types of stories we have done,” Quijandrio said, noting that the station had broadcast other investigative stories regarding military intelligence activities and high-level government dealings.

Channeling ownership

Although Peruvian law does not restrict foreign ownership of media, Quijandrio said the government could expropriate Ivcher’s 57% stake in the channel. And the other shareholders in Channel 3, brothers Samuel and Mendel Winter, are using the issue in the courts to take control, he said. “This is not a national issue, this is a problem between partners,” Quijandrio said.

Samuel Winter did not return a phone call seeking comment.

Ivcher is in Miami, Quijandrio said, and would not be available to talk to the press. “He has received anonymous death threats,” Quijandrio said.

The head of Channel 3’s international sales office in Miami, Roxana Rotundo, would only confirm that Ivcher is in the United States. “Given the situation, he doesn’t want people to know where he is,” she said.

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