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Now you see it...

On January 19, the Mexican Finance Secretariat announced it was returning $2.111 billion pesos (roughly $200 million U.S.) to the nation's largest logistics operator, Transportacion Maritima Mexicana (TMM).The money was a return on taxes TMM had paid in 1997, when it bought - with its partner, Kansas City Southern Industries - the Northeastern Railroad Line from the Mexican government.

The refund did not come easy. TMM took the Finance Secretariat (FS) all the way to Mexico's Supreme Court, where it won its case. Begrudgingly, the FS returned the 15% value-added tax TMM had paid.

On January 20, as TMM's accountants showed up at FS offices to pick up the Treasury Certificate, they were slapped with a new lawsuit claiming procedures filed to receive the tax return were improper. As a result, the FS was impounded the Treasury Certificate until this new lawsuit is settled. Both parties are on the way back to court. TMM hopes to partially solve its $370 million financial woes with the tax return . . .when it gets it.

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