The office of Argentinian President Mauricio Macri has denied that Donald Trump used his first conversation as US President-elect with Mr Macri to ask for help with a construction project in Buenos Aires.
One of the country's leading journalists had claimed that when President Macri called Mr Trump to congratulate him on his shock election victory, Mr Trump had asked Mr Macri for assistance with permitting problems that have held up construction of a 35-storey office building in the heart of the Argentinian capital.
But Ivan Pavlovsky, a spokesman for Mr Macri, told Buzzfeed News that the two men “only spoke about maintaining the institutional relationship between the two countries. They then recalled their personal relationship. They never spoke of the tower.”
Jorge Lanata, who hosts the weekly investigative journalism programme Periodismo para todos (“Journalism for everybody”) revealed the alleged details of the call to his television audience on Sunday. The Argentinian newspaper La Nacion quoted Mr Lanata as saying, “Macri called [Mr Trump]. This still hasn’t emerged but Trump asked for them to authorise a building he’s constructing in Buenos Aires. It wasn’t just a geopolitical chat.”
As Talking Points Memo noted, Mr Trump and his Argentinian business partners have faced several issues with permitting, financing and importing building materials as they prepare to begin construction on the $100m project in Buenos Aires, which is due to be built by 2020.
The claims came amid series of glaring conflicts of interest thrown up by Mr Trump’s election and his continued business activities with the Trump Organisation, whose day-to-day administration is set to fall to his children during his presidency. The Trump Organisation did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Washington Post reported last week that Mr Trump’s new hotel in DC was soliciting foreign diplomats to send their delegations there when visiting the US capital. “Why wouldn’t I stay at his hotel blocks from the White House, so I can tell the new President, ‘I love your new hotel!’” one Asian diplomat told the newspaper. “Isn’t it rude to come to his city and say, ‘I am staying at your competitor’?”
While in the throes of the White House transition, the President-elect also met with three of his Indian partners at Trump Tower, to discuss expanding his business on the subcontinent. Mr Trump’s Argentinian business partner, Felipe Yaryura, was among the guests at the Republican’s election night victory party in New York City.