Macri's Annuls Debt Settlement
Argentine President Mauricio Macri annulled a controversial deal made between the government and his family business on February 16. The deal involved forgiving debts owed by Macri’s father that the national postal service accrued during its time as a private company.
The $296 million owed by the Macri family business was incurred from 1997 to 2003, but litigation over the debt has plagued both the government and the company for the last fourteen years. No resolution was reached under the Kirchner governments, leaving the issue to Macri following his election.
A federal prosecutor has asked a judge to open an investigation into both Macri and Communications Minister Oscar Aguad, whose department issued the development. Despite only being issued last year, the agreement became public following its disclosure in this case.
The case presents a clear conflict of interest with the president and his family on both sides of the agreement and has disappointed many Argentines who hoped for a more transparent government under Macri. Corruption in the Macri government stemming from possible family business dealings first came to light with the 2016 Panama Papers leak, but Macri insisted that any companies under his name were linked to his father rather than him.
Despite defending the need to resolve the long-standing issue, Macri annulled the decision to forgive the debt and stated that the deal could have been conducted with more public transparency to avoid accusation of wrongdoing.
Although the deal has been scrapped, Macri’s government is still seeking some form of resolution that will likely take place under his leadership—albeit with harsher terms. Regardless of the eventual terms of the deal, Macri seems to have lost the high ground regarding the corruption cases that held following the Kirchner presidencies.