Argentina’s Anti-corruption Office (OA) has slammed Labour Minister Jorge Triaca over a scandal involving a former employee who in January alleged he had ‘paid her under the table’.
In a ruling released Tuesday, the OA said Triaca “should have acted in a prudent way by not consenting to the hiring of Ms. Sandra Heredia in the United Maritime Workers Unions (SOMU)”.
Lawyers for Heredia claimed the Labour Minister had secured Heredia a role at SOMU, which the government controls as a result of an intervention, after she had requested a pay rise for her work at the Triaca family home.
The OA did not address Heredia's accusation that Triaca paid her part of her salary ‘under the table’ until 20 days prior to the Mauricio Macri government winning office. Triaca denies the claims.
The scandal involving Heredia came close to costing the Labour Minister his job.
In leaked voice message, Triaca called Heredia a “dumbass” and used other profanities to attack her for her alleged absence from his family’s estate on the outskirts of Buenos Aires.
However, the government vehemently defended Triaca. At the time, Cabinet Chief Marcos Peña praised him for his “personal qualities and everything he has achieved”. “We consider him an excellent Labour Minister and we support him”, he said.
Heredia had worked for the Triaca family since 2012.
The Anti-corruption Office is run by Laura Alonso, a member of President Mauricio Macri's PRO Party.
Her office is currently under pressure to address accusations of conflicts of interest and breaches of public transparency laws involving Finance Minister Luis Caputo and Treasurer Nicolas Dujovne.