Argentine president faces probe over 'Panama Papers'

AFP , Thursday 7 Apr 2016

Argentine President
Argentine President Mauricio Macri in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2015. (Photo: AP)

A federal prosecutor in Argentina opened an investigation Thursday into President Mauricio Macri's financial dealings via two offshore firms revealed in the so-called Panama Papers leaks.

Prosecutor Federico Delgado said he had asked a judge to request information from the national tax authority and anti-corruption office to determine whether Macri "omitted, with malicious intent, to complete his sworn declaration" of assets, a requirement for Argentine public officials.

The move came after opposition lawmaker Norman Martinez, an ally of Macri's predecessor and opponent Cristina Kirchner, pressed charges against the conservative president Wednesday, seeking to have him investigated for financial crimes.

Information about Macri's offshore financial dealings emerged Sunday in the leak of millions of documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, which has put a host of world leaders and celebrities on the hot seat over their secret financial dealings.

Argentine newspaper La Nacion, one of the more than 100 media organizations wading through the leaks, reported that Macri, his business magnate father and his brother Mariano were on the board of directors of Fleg Trading, an offshore company registered in the Bahamas.

Subsequent press reports said Macri was also listed as president of a second offshore firm, Kagemusha SA, set up in Panama in 1981.

Macri did not list either company in his financial declarations when he became Buenos Aires mayor in 2007 or president last year.

Macri, who vowed to fight corruption during his presidential campaign last year, denies wrongdoing and says he has nothing to hide.

The pro-business president has launched a flurry of free-market reforms since taking office in December, seeking to revive a slowing economy.

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