Argentine prosecutors wants president probed in Panama leaks

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — An Argentine prosecutor on Thursday asked for an investigation into President Mauricio Macri's role in offshore companies, adding to the global fallout from a massive leak of documents from a Panama law firm.

Federal prosecutor Federico Delgado made the request to Judge Sebastian Casanello, according to a court document obtained by The Associated Press. Under Argentine law, such a request is the precursor to charges, which must be decided on by a judge.

Delgado argued that an investigation is necessary to see whether Macri "maliciously" omitted his role in two offshore companies in his annual tax declarations.

Macri's press office did not immediately return requests for comment.

Macri, a conservative who ran for office last year on promises to crack down on corruption, has repeatedly said they were family businesses and he was a figurehead who received no compensation. The former mayor of Buenos Aires is son of Italian-born tycoon Francisco Macri, who is one of the country's richest people.

In the document, Delgado notes that Macri has denied any wrongdoing. However, he says Macri needs to give authorities a full report of his role and the tax dynamics of the offshore companies.

Opposition party leaders have also demanded Macri give a fuller accounting of what the companies did and why Macri was listed if he had no role.

For example, Macri shows up in documents of "Fleg Trading," a now-defunct company that was incorporated in the Bahamas. Macri has said it was set up in the late 1990s to make investments in Brazil, but that investments never materialized and by 2009 the company was dissolved.

However, he has not provided details about the company or elaborated on why he was named as a partner if he had no role and received no income.