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3 Colombian commishes arrested for corruption

Naranjo, Hernandez, Reyes charged with favoring private net RCN

BOGOTA — Colombia’s troubled National TV Commission has been rocked anew, as three of its five members were arrested last week on corruption charges.

CNTV commissioners Yolanda Naranjo, Jorge Hernandez and Cecilia Reyes were placed under house arrest by anti-corruption authorities. They are charged with having favored private network RCN by allowing the web to extend its license payment deadline.

RCN, owned by powerful conglom the Ardilla Lulle Group, was given a two-year term in December 1997 to pay the $56 million license fee. Caracol TV also applied for a license at the same time and has fulfilled the payback terms of the contract. RCN and Caracol were the only networks to be privatized in July 1998.

The government charges that the three commissioners under arrest decided among themselves to grant RCN two separate extensions.

RCN prexy Gabriel Reyes Copello has maintained that the network never acted in bad faith.

In the wake of the arrest, Hernandez resigned his post, saying he wanted to clear the way for a thorough investigation to prove his innocence. His two-year stint was up for renewal in September.

The CNTV will appoint replacements on Tuesday.

(Mary Sutter in Miami contributed to this report.)

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