President-elect Donald Trump called in a favor from Argentina’s president – a long-time business associate – and asked for help building a Trump tower in Buenos Aires, according to Argentine news reports.
Spokesmen for Trump and the Argentine president, Mauricio Macri, called the accusations untrue and baseless. But the report, nevertheless, was a reminder that Trump’s international business relationships make conflicts of interest a possibility in much of the world.
Macri was one of the first Latin American leaders to reach out to Trump following the election. The two have a relationship that dates back decades, before the two got involved in politics.
According to a statement from the Argentina president’s office, Macri told Trump he hoped to see him for the G-20 meeting in 2018. Trump then supposedly asked Macri for his help with a stalled building project he’s been working on, according to a report from the Buenos Aires-based La Nacion.
“This still hasn’t emerged but Trump asked for them to authorize a building he’s constructing in Buenos Aires. It wasn’t just a geopolitical chat,” said Jorge Lanata on his “Journalism for All” television program in Argentina.
A spokesman for Macri told a reporter for Public Radio International that the reports were “absolutely untrue.”
“Any reports alleging a discussion about personal business interests between President-elect Trump and President Macri are completely untrue. The Argentine president and his office have also refuted these baseless claims,” Jason Miller, the communications director for Trump’s transition.
Macri, 57, and Trump met through Macri’s father, Francisco Macri. According to a book by Francisco Macri, Trump broke his clubs after a golf game with the younger Macri during a tense real estate deal in New York in the 1980s, Reuters reports.
Trump has vowed to hand off his business to his three adult children to avoid any conflicts of interests, but he continues to meet with business associates. Last week, he reportedly met with three Indian business partners who plan to build a Trump luxury condominiums in Mumbai.