Bloomberg News

MEXICO CITY - Citigroup Inc.'s deal for Grupo Financiero Banamex-Accival SA would give it a 5,000-piece art collection and several historic buildings, as well as Mexico's second-largest bank.

Painters, politicians, and writers are urging the Mexican government to ensure that Citigroup does not remove or sell the ceramics, sculptures, and paintings, many the work of world-renowned artists such as Rufino Tamayo, Frida Kahlo, and David Alfaro Siqueiros.

Citi has assured Mexicans that the art collection and historical sites owned by Banacci's Banco Nacional de Mexico SA, or Banamex, would be in good hands once the planned $12.5 billion deal closes.

In a press statement, Citigroup said it "plans to maintain the tradition that Banamex has shown in preserving and maintaining its cultural patrimony."

Banacci owns some of Mexico's best-known 18th-century colonial buildings, including the Palacio de Iturbide, a museum in downtown Mexico City where the Banamex Foundation organizes exhibits, and La Casa de los Condes de San Mateo de Valparaiso, part of the company's headquarters in Mexico City's historic center.

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