The world’s richest man quietly slipped into Washington, D.C., this week for a series of powwows with top Obama administration officials – but you would not know it if you read the New York Times.
Univision’s Jordan Fabian reports that Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim held a series of closed-door meetings with senior Obama officials such as Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk.
Slim is worth an estimated $63 billion, and owns more than seven percent of the New York Times Company – though the eponymous newspaper of record didn’t deem it necessary to report on its partial owners’ D.C. trip. (Slim also loaned the Times $250 million last year, which earned him warrants to bump his holding in the company to nearly 16 percent.)
Often referred to as “Mexico’s Mr. Monopoly,” Slim has been accused of employing mafia-esque tactics to retain control of his 70 percent stake in the country’s telecom industry. Last week, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development accused Slim’s telecommunications companies of overcharging customers and stymieing economic growth in Mexico.
Administration spokesmen were intentionally vague when asked by Fabian about the nature of Slim’s high-level sit-downs:
“Secretary Napolitano met with Mr. Slim on Monday to discuss a number of security-related issues and underscore the Department of Homeland Security’s commitment to continuing our close relationship with Mexican partners to facilitate lawful travel and trade that supports our economy,” according to DHS spokesman Matthew Chandler.
A spokesperson for Kirk would only say that the two met to discuss “various issues of mutual interest.
Slim also participated in a Tuesday afternoon roundtable discussion about telecommunications issues, such as broadband, at the State Department. One of the participants was U.S. Undersecretary for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs Robert Hormats. …
“The reports also have emphasized that broadband has great significance in advancing toward achievement of the millennium development goals,” according to a readout from the [State] department. “The meeting was designed to explore the commission’s conclusions and its work program for 2012 in light of the development opportunities it has identified.”