Mexicana de Aviacion's former employees have sued PC Capital, which was unable to come up in March with the $200 million it offered for the bankrupt carrier, for fraud.

PC Capital committed alleged fraud against "more than 8,000 workers" of Compañia Mexicana de Aviacion, or CMA, "by delaying the airline's sale for more than four months via an offer that lacked economic resources," a group calling itself the Coalition of Workers of Mexicana de Aviacion said.

The Attorney General's Office should arrest PC Capital chief Arturo Barahona Oyervides and other members of the firm "who turn out to be responsible" for the alleged crime, the coalition said.

Mexicana's sale was cancelled in March after PC Capital was unable to come up with the funds needed to buy the carrier and subsidiaries Click and Link.

PC Capital failed to pay the money on March 1, the day the purchase agreement with Tenedora K, which took control last August of 95 percent of the stock of holding company Nuevo Grupo Aeronautico, or NGA, which owns Mexicana de Aviacion, Click and Link, expired.

PC Capital won the bidding for the bankrupt carrier in November, offering to pay $200 million for Mexicana's assets and to restructure operations, eliminating about 75 percent of the airline's 8,000 jobs.

Mexicana, which had been one of Mexico's two leading airlines, stopped operating on Aug. 28 along with sister budget carriers Click and Link.

The carrier is trying to negotiate a restructuring of its debt of about 20 billion pesos ($1.72 billion), of which a large portion is owed to workers.

The investment group planned to have Mexicana de Aviacion resume flying before March, operating 30 planes, down from its previous fleet of 112.

The carrier had received its operating and security licenses after conducting test flights mandated by regulators.

Barahona is the leader of the supposed investment group that "tricked" workers and officials for months only "to later say it did not have money," the coalition said.

Workers will continue to stage protests outside hotels owned by Grupo Posadas, Mexicana's former owner, to draw attention to the "supposed theft by its owner, Gaston Azcarraga, to the detriment of thousands of workers, since Barahona Oyervides is one of his representatives," the coalition said.

The ASPA pilots union filed a lawsuit against Grupo Posadas last week, alleging violations of securities laws in the airline's management.

Azcarraga, who is the chairman of Grupo Posadas, "hid important results and indicators of liquidity, solvency, profitability and utilization of assets" while the company ran Mexicana de Aviacion, actions that "may have exacerbated the company's crisis," ASPA chief Fernando Perfecto, whose union represents more than 2,500 pilots in Mexico, said.

Mexicana was acquired from the government by Grupo Posadas in late 2005.

The carrier, which ceased operating last August due to severe financial problems, is in the hands of a court-appointed receiver, who will decide whether the company can resume flying or will be liquidated.

The government warned in March that the carrier would be liquidated unless investors injected $250 million into it to resume operations in 90 days, a deadline that was not met.