Franco Macri, the father of Argentine President Mauricio Macri, presented a brief to federal judge Sebastián Casanello, in which he exonerated his son of responsibilities in the creation and operation of the offshore companies for which he is being investigated.
The Argentine president was charged after the Panama Papers leak revealed that since 1998, he was the head of an offshore company along with his father Franco and his brother Mariano. The board was registered in the Bahamas as Fleg Trading Ltd.
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After the incorporation of the firm Fleg Trading Ltd, it was listed in the public registry of Panama as Kagemusha SA, which Macri was also involved in.
In the text presented to Casanello, Franco Macri stated that he made his sons Mauricio, Gianfranco, and Mariano “shareholders of different companies since they were very young” and that he likewise appointed them as directors, without knowledge or consent from them.
The President’s father pledged to provide documentation proving that he had committed no wrongdoing with respect to Fleg Trading Ltd. and Kagemusha SA.
“Franco is willing to present all the documentation that is needed to demonstrate the transparency of the activity,” said Franco Macri’s attorney, Jorge Anzorreguy.
Sources close to Macri told La Nación that the Casa Rosada (residence of the Argentine president) is waiting in the next few days for “documentation and evidence” from Panama and Bahamas (among other countries), which would bring “good news” to the president.
Fleg Trading was created in the Bahamas in March 1998 with an initial capital investment of USD $5,000. Its first directors, according to its corporate charter, were: Mauricio Macri, his father Francisco (Franco) Macri and his brother Mariano Macri.
Franco Macri stated that he appointed his sons as directors, but “in practice” only he exercised the position. Fleg Trading was active until 2009, when the current president was head of government of the City of Buenos Aires.
For its part, the Public Registry of Panama states that the president is vice chairman of the offshore firm Kagemusha SA (created in 1981), a company still in existence, but inactive and in the process of dissolution, according to La Nación.
Regarding the Panama offshore company, Franco Macri said that because of the ages of his children at the time – Mauricio (22), Gianfranco (20) and Mariano (15) – it is “impossible to think that they had made the decisions themselves.”
“The structure was always the same, but I was the decision maker. They were not even aware of their status within the company in question. These are companies and activities of the past from a period in which it was I who handled the administration and finances of the family business, “said Franco Macri.
The Argentine court seeks to determine whether money laundering existed and whether Mauricio Macri had any role in these possible moves. La Nación states that up until now it was possible to determine that in September 1998, Fleg Trading bought 99.9% of the shares of Owners do Brasil Ltda from Socma Americana (owned by Franco Macri) and for these shares paid a total of USD $9.3 million.
In April, when Macri’s link with Fleg Trading came to light through the Panama Papers, the government ensured that the president was never an offshore shareholder and therefore did not have the obligation to declare it, nor did he have responsibilities in the companies operations.
Franco Macri asked Judge Casanello to “use the occasion to draw a dividing line between politics and justice.”
Source: La Nación.