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Argentina’s Macri fights back against ‘Panama Papers’ scandal

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Updated: 11:06 GMT, Apr 8, 2016 | Published: 10:37 GMT, Apr 8, 2016 |
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Argentine President Mauricio Macri said on Thursday (April 7) he had nothing to hide regarding his links with an offshore company revealed by the “Panama Papers,” after a federal prosecutor called for an investigation.

Macri is among scores of politicians and business figures internationally named in documents leaked from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, which specialises in setting up offshore companies

The son of an Italian-born business tycoon, Macri has said he was not legally obliged to declare his connection with the offshore company named in the “Panama Papers” as he never had a stake in it.

The president said he was simply director of the Bahamas-based company, Fleg Trading Ltd., now closed, which was created by his father to make investments in Brazil.

Critics say he owes a more thorough explanation of this and his alleged connection with another offshore company, Kagemusha SA, registered in Panama, given that such firms are often used to launder money and evade taxes.

“I know that there are some people concerned about these claims in the ‘Panama Papers’ that have been released and involve me. I want to say to you all, one more time, that I am very calm, that I have complied with the law, I have told the truth and that I have nothing to hide. And in that, I didn’t just make an initial declaration that I wasn’t an investor, and as a director I didn’t receive any form of compensation and that I made a sworn declaration from the first day that I took on a public post as a city mayor in the correct way, and that I brought forward all the papers to the anti-corruption office so that they verified them. And tomorrow, I will be presenting before the civil justice authority something that’s called a declaration of certainty, I think, is that right, Minister? For engineers, these terms are a bit strange. A declaration of certainty, with all that information, so the judge can verify what I have said is true,” Macri said in a televised news conference.

Macri also said he would put all his assets in a blind trust while president, a measure designed to prevent conflict of interest and generate transparency in the administration of his business interests.