Thursday, October 28

The Pandora Papers reveal an ‘offshore’ of a brother of Macri to move funds from a family holding company to Belize

The family of former President Mauricio Macri is once again the subject of an international investigation into tax havens. Mariano Macri, the former president’s younger brother, controlled a company offshore based in Belize, unknown until now and designed to channel Socma funds. This is TNB Investments Limited, a firm created on January 7, 2016, almost a month after the arrival of the leader of Cambiemos a la Casa Rosada, reports elDiarioAR.

The information comes from Pandora Papers documents, the new global leak from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which is part of ElDiarioAR together with La Nación and Infobae *, and which analyzed almost 12 million documents from 14 providers of offshore companies. In Spain, this investigation has been led by El País and La Sexta.

Also appearing among documents from two law firms are the records of Reata Pacific Limited (British Virgin Islands) and Wanama Capital Inc. (Panama), two offshore included in the complaint of the Federal Administration of Public Revenue (AFIP) against Gianfranco Macri for alleged irregularities in the money laundering or tax honesty that his brother’s presidency promoted.

Mariano macri

TNB Investments Limited was incorporated with an initial capital of at least $ 50,000 and was operational until July 2018, at least, according to research by the Argentine ICIJ team. The company is listed in the internal registries of Alemán, Cordero, Galindo & Lee (Alcogal), a Panamanian law firm that provides services to multinational corporations, investors, and high-net-worth individuals.

Before the query, a spokesperson for Mariano Macri acknowledged the relationship with the company, said that he never used it and justified that the businessman had not reported the existence of this company to the Federal Administration of Public Revenues (AFIP). “His accountant told him that it is not registered with the AFIP because the company had no movements, no equity impact,” he said.

The Belize company directly connects with the family disputes between Mariano and his older brothers, Mauricio and Gianfranco, for control of the family companies, especially Socma and Sideco, according to a Mariano spokesperson in consultation with the Argentine ICIJ team. *.

His aspiration was to be bought his share of Socma (20% of the shares). He had five negotiations. In 2020, it was the last, in which they showed that there was really no provision.

A source who intervened in the offshore operation explained to ICIJ that the objective of TNB Investments Limited was to open a bank account in which 2.6 million dollars would be received, divided into an initial payment of 350,000 dollars and thirty subsequent installments of 75,000 dollars. in respect of the retirement of Mariano Macri as a shareholder of the Socma group. “Given the failure of an agreement with the family group, that capital never arrived,” said Mariano Macri’s spokesman.

“His aspiration was for them to buy his part of Socma (20% of the shares). He had five negotiations. In 2020, it was the last, in which they showed that there was really no provision. They told him no to everything he put up on the table as conditions, and they did not close the deal, “explained the businessman’s spokesman.

Mariano Macri’s spokesman denied that TNB Investments Limited had mobilized funds and said the goal was to later make investments with those funds. “He opened it to do some business that never materialized related to technology, such as electronic wallets. He never used it, nor did he have assets or associated bank accounts,” he said.

TNB Investments Limited is open, until at least July 2018, as confirmed by the Argentine team.

Partners and partner

According to the documents analyzed, Mariano Macri established TNB Investments Limited together with his partner and partner, María Ximena Fernández Rey, in Belize. Both are listed as beneficial owners in equal parts, according to the documents.

Mariano Macri and his partner also appear as partners in the company Eco Urban Concept SRL for the import, export, distribution, development and commercialization of “automatic and / or intelligent and / or computerized vehicle parking machines”.

TNB Investments Limited registered another offshore branch. The director, in turn, was another offshore company called Corporate Manager Limited, also incorporated in Belize, and for which no additional data is known, except that it continues to be active to this day.

Asked about Corporate Manager Limited, the Macri spokesperson dismissed him: “This company is one of the managers who provided the administrative services to operate the offshore company, Mariano has no connection whatsoever.”

“Politically exposed person”

In the Pandora Papers documents, it is stated that the Alcogal studio executives who constituted the firm for Mariano Macri developed a limited analysis on him and his partner to reduce the potential risks of money laundering.

The couple began the procedures for the creation of the company on December 22, 2015 and the opening of TNB Investments Limited took place two weeks later.

“There is no negative or relevant information for Mr. Mariano Macri,” they stated in the records on January 7, after the “World Check” database confirmed that “the date of Mr. Mariano Macri’s passport corresponds to a subject of the same name , brother of the current president Macri in Argentina “.

Alerted by the relationship with a head of state, Alcogal managers estimated that “if they accept him as a client, as he is very high risk, they would have to request the” DD “from him. [por Due Diligence o “debida diligencia”] as a natural person “. However, in the end that did not happen. On the contrary, the agents reduced the preventions.” Just put the alerts as PEP [por persona políticamente expuesta] to be pending. You do not have to ask [una] due diligence “, they resolved in their internal communications.

Three months later, the family of former President Macri would be shaken by the release of the Panama Papers. Among other reasons, because from there some data on the Socma Group’s offshore operations came to light. Among others, those linked to the company BF Corporation, which from the family holding company attributed to the brothers Mariano and Gianfranco, with 50% each.

That offshore company, BF Corporation, was one of those used by Gianfranco Macri to enter at least US $ 4 million in the money laundering promoted by his brother president.

According to Mariano Macri in the book “Hermano”, by Santiago O’Donnell, his family sought to set up foundations in Luxembourg to control Socma from there and not have to answer for their debts.

For this reason, the youngest of the Macri denounced Gianfranco and the former president’s children before the courts. He accused them of having kept money that was his due from his father’s inheritance and said they did so through an offshore partnership scheme, an accusation that the family and Socma representatives have always rejected.

Alcogal, based in Panama, is a leading offshore provider for politicians and wealthy people in Latin America and beyond. “Alcogal adheres to all legal requirements in the provision of corporate services and company formation, in full compliance with all applicable requirements in all the jurisdictions in which we operate,” the firm said in consultation with ICIJ.

Gianfranco Macri

The documents that make up Pandora Papers mention a company identified as Reata Pacific Limited, registered in the British Virgin Islands (BVI). Its manager was OMC Group. The company is listed in a document for the firm’s internal use.

Currently, Reata Pacific Limited is the subject of a judicial investigation, according to what emerged in recent days. The company had two bank accounts for about US $ 25 million and was controlled, in turn, by Quiñel Trust, a trust created in the Principality of Liechtenstein in November 2000 with Macri’s mother, Alicia Blanco Villegas, as beneficiary and trustor, for the purpose of organizing your inheritance between your children and your grandchildren.

From the Pandora Papers, for now, no additional data on Reata Pacific emerge, but the documents do reveal who were in charge of managing these three companies and confirm where they are really based.

A recent AFIP report presented to the Economic Criminal Justice assured that Gianfranco Macri had disclosed and declared as his own the bank accounts controlled by Quiñel Trust during the money laundering that his brother promoted in 2016 when, strictly speaking, they belonged to his mother. Blanco Villegas was prevented from entering money laundering due to the legal prohibition that was imposed on certain direct relatives of public officials.

In consultation with the Argentine ICIJ team, Mariano Macri’s spokesperson denied that the businessman knew of the existence of Reata Pacific Limited. “Everything that his mother structured, inside or outside the country, is completely unknown to Mariano. She never informed him of anything about how he disposes or will dispose of his assets,” said his close friend.

In the presentation that the AFIP made before the Justice, mention is also made of another company that Gianfranco Macri included in the money laundering and that appears in the thousands of documents reviewed by the Argentine ICIJ team. It is Wanama Capital Inc. This company, according to the report of the tax agency, belonged to his father, Franco Macri, and “has 100% of the shares of JRI Company”, another offshore company in the Netherlands Antilles. The father of the then president could not adhere to the money laundering.

In Pandora Papers, Wanama Capital Inc. is listed as registered in Panama on November 20, 2009 by the Uruguayan subsidiary of the Panamanian firm Mossack Fonseca. The Konrad y Asociados studio in Montevideo acted as an intermediary. Wanama Capital Inc. is listed in an excel where there are more than 300,000 companies in different offshore jurisdictions. In the leak there are no more documents that reflect his activity or if he handled assets.

From Gianfranco’s environment, they explained to the Argentine ICIJ team that it is a company that Franco Macri “had transferred to him years before the fiscal disclosure” and that it was “included in the disclosure that was accepted in 2016, as authorized by law” . “As the owner of the company, he was entitled to declare it,” they affirmed. When asked about the purpose of the company, they responded that Gianfranco “is dedicated to the activity of real estate development among other activities.”

* The Argentine Pandora Papers team is made up of Hugo Alconada Mon, Maia Jastreblansky and Ricardo Brom (La Nación); Mariel Fitz Patrick, Sandra Crucianelli and Iván Ruiz (Infobae); and Emilia Delfino (elDiarioAR).

Pandora Papers is a global collaboration between @elDiarioAR and the non-profit International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (@ICIJorg). If you like journalism like this, make a donation to the ICIJ to support it.

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