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News > Latin America

Argentina’s Macri Uses State Funds to Pay Family’s $4.4B Debt

  • Argentine President Mauricio Macri

    Argentine President Mauricio Macri | Photo: Reuters

Published 8 February 2017

The Argentine government has accepted a 98 percent debt relief, promising to finish paying the debt by 2033.

Argentine President Mauricio Macri has signed an executive order forgiving his family’s 70-billion-peso (US$4.4 billion) debt, Nuestra Voces reports.

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The Macri family’s debt is connected to Correo Argentino, the state-owned postal service company they owned prior to 2003. That was the year former populist President Nestor Kirchner nationalized the bankrupt company in order to stabilize the economy.

Since 2003, the administrations of Kirchner and his wife Cristina Fernandez have rejected countless proposals for government payment of debt, calling them “abusive” to Argentina’s taxpayers.

But now that the Macri family has one of their own in power, the Argentine government has accepted a 98 percent debt relief, promising to finish paying the debt by 2033.

In 2009, Macri transferred ownership of debt bonds connected to Correo Argentino over to his children Agustina, Gimena, and Francisco Juan.

“It may be that family members of the president of the nation will be the final beneficiaries of the company and/or its controlling shareholders or members of the economic group,” Argentine prosecutor Gabriela Boquin said back in December, when the bankruptcy case re-emerged, Nuestra Voces reports.

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“No public official with a dependent relationship with him could accept a proposal that directly or indirectly benefits him,” she added.

Despite Boquin’s warning, Macri’s administration has decided to move forward with pardoning the debt, benefitting his children’s investments.

This isn’t the first time that Macri’s family has come under fire for their suspicious financial ties.

Earlier this month, it was revealed that their family business, Sideco Americana S.A., had substantial ties with the massive bribery scandal involving Brazil’s state-run oil company Petrobras.

Odebrecht is accused of being the main actor in providing hundreds of millions of dollars to Petrobras executives. The company has also admitted to paying US$1 billion in bribes to obtain contracts in 12 different countries.

Political parties opposed to Macri’s administration, like Kirchner’s populist Justicialist Party, are expected to file a lawsuit against the incumbent government for his family’s debt relief, Nuestra Voces adds.

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