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Argentina's Macri backs minister who keeps his millions abroad


Buenos Aires (AFP)

Argentina's President Mauricio Macri on Friday backed his under-fire energy minister who admitted keeping his millions outside Argentina because he lacked faith in the economy.

Macri said Juan Jose Aranguren had made financial sacrifices to take on the job of minister in his center-right government in 2015.

Aranguren had resigned as president of Anglo-Dutch oil company Shell in Argentina, "where he was doing very well, to take charge of the biggest mess that the Kirchnerists left behind -- that was a country without energy" and with daily power blackouts, Macri told Cadena 3 radio.

The president was responding to questions about his minister's public acknowledgement on Thursday that he kept most of his $88 million fortune deposited abroad.

"This has to do with the confidence we have lost in Argentina," Aranguren said on Radio con Vos.

He said most of the investments and savings he held abroad came from "a bonus I received from my former employer (Shell) in shares of that company that were obviously abroad."

At a time when Argentina was enforcing exchange restrictions under Cristina Kirchner's leftist government, "Why am I going to bring it in?" he asked.

"We are working for an Argentina where that does not happen anymore," said the minister.

When his interviewer said he kept his own money in the country, Aranguren replied: "You have more confidence in Argentina than I do, I leave you with that virtue.

"I want to work so that everyone in Argentina can recover that confidence."

Treasury Minister Nicolas Dujovne, the head of the Federal Intelligence Agency Gustavo Arribas and Central Bank chief Federico Sturzenegger also said they kept most of their money outside the country.

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