Now the president of Argentina is facing scrutiny because of the Panama Papers

Argentine President Mauricio Macri took office in December 2015 vowing to fight corruption and fix the economy.
© AFP/File Nicholas Kamm

A federal prosecutor in Argentina opened an investigation on Thursday into President Mauricio Macri’s financial dealings because of two offshore firms revealed in the so-called Panama Papers leaks, according to AFP.

Prosecutor Federico Delgado said that he had asked a judge to request information from the national tax authority and anticorruption office to determine whether the conservative president “omitted, with malicious intent, to complete his sworn declaration” of assets, a requirement for Argentine public officials, AFP reported.

“As a first step, it is necessary to check if Mauricio Macri maliciously failed to complete his tax declaration,” Delgado wrote in his appeal to Judge Sebastián Casanello, noting that it was a crime that carried a sentence from 15 days to two years, according to Reuters.

Argentine newspaper La Nacion, which examined documents leaked from Panama-based international law firm Mossack Fonseca, reported that Macri was listed as a director of Fleg Trading Ltd., a company based in the Bahamas, from 1998 until 2009.

The president said that he was simply director of the Bahamas-based company, now closed, which was created by his tycoon father to make investments in Brazil, Reuters noted.

Macri, however, did not list the company in his financial declaration in 2007, when he became mayor of Buenos Aires, or in 2015, when he was elected president, according to the BBC.

Mauricio Macri, presidential candidate of the Cambiemos (“Let’s Change”) coalition, speaks to his supporters after the presidential election in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on November 22, 2015.
REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

Earlier this week, Macri’s office confirmed that a business group owned by his family had created an offshore company through Mossack Fonseca, the BBC noted. But the president’s office said that he never received income from it, so there was no reason to declare it in financial disclosures.

Macri, who has denied any misdeeds, campaigned in part on vows to fight corruption, and he said during his state of the union earlier this year that “Corruption can’t nor should be left unpunished.”

The Argentine president is not the only Latin American leader with links to the suspect financial dealings divulged by the Panama Papers.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and first lady Angelica Rivera Hurtado arrive at Brisbane Airport ahead of the G-20 summit in Brisbane, Australia.
G20 Australia/Patrick Hamilton/AP

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and his wife have also been shown to have ties to people named in the documents.

Earlier this week, it was revealed that a Mexican contractor – a close friend of the president – had worked with Mossack Fonseca to move roughly $100 million to offshore trusts in the midst of a government investigation into whether that contractor had granted the president’s family special favors in a real-estate deal.

So far, however, Macri and Peña Nieto have not fared the worst in the wake of the Panama Papers’ leak. Iceland’s prime minister resigned on Tuesday after secret investments revealed by the Papers ignited a firestorm of criticism.

AFP contributed to this story.