An Austrian financial bank closely tied to the massive bribery scandal involving Brazil’s state-run oil company Petrobras has substantial ties to the family business of Argentine President Mauricio Macri, an investigation by Politica Argentina revealed on Friday.
The Macri family's conglomerate Sideco Americana S.A. has 109,810,199 shares pledged by the Meinl Bank offices in Antigua and Barbuda, according to official documents aquired from Argentina's National Securities Commission, which means that the firm owes "an important sum of money" to the bank, Politica Argentina reported.
The financial institution's local office in Antigua and Barbuda, called Meinl Bank Antigua Limited, was acquired by Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht exclusively to launder funds.
Odebrecht is implicated as the principal actor in providing hundreds of millions of dollars to executives of the state-run oil company Petrobras.
Sources specializing in international finance told Politica Argentina that the loan given to Macri’s family business appears to have been in the form of a mechanism known as "back to back," which are credits used to evade currency controls.
However, this is not the first time that Macri has been linked to the Brazilian corruption scandal at the center of the investigations known as "Operation Car Wash." Macri's Intelligence director, Gustavo Arribas, was discovered on Jan. 11 to have received nearly US$600,000 in payoffs from Odebrecht in 2013. The funds, wired to Arribas' Swiss Account, originated from Meinl Bank.
In addition, Open Corporates data and Panama Papers revelations published last April have linked the Macri family to 50 offshore accounts, most of which were undeclared to local authorities.
Odebrecht has admitted to paying US$1 billion in bribes to obtain contracts in 12 different countries. In the case of Brazil, there are several top politicians implicated, including members of the current government of Brazilian President Michel Temer. CEO Marcelo Odebrecht is currently serving a 19-year prison sentence for his role in the corruption scheme.