Friday, June 21, 2024

ARGENTINA | 16-02-2018 17:35

Macri official tied to offshore US$1.2m

Valentín Díaz Gilligan played down his connection to the sports representation firm whose Andorran bank account contained a US$1.2-million sum.

A high-ranking official in President Mauricio Macri’s national government kept US$1.2 million in an Andorran bank account, media reports suggested Friday.

The man in question, presidential undersecretary Valentín Díaz Gilligan, immediately played down the revelations, telling La Red radio on Friday: “I’m surprised about the attention surrounding something that had to do with my private activity not my public activity, which began in December 2013”.

He claimed the money belonged to a friend and associate, Brazilian football guru Francisco Casal, and that his connection to the company whose name appears on the Banca Privada d’Andorra (BPA) account in Andorra — which Spanish publication El País reported contained 980,000 euros —  was completely above board.

“I was asked to come on as a director and adviser of a firm based in Great Britain, with absolutely all its papers in order. It is not an offshore company”, he insisted, referring to Line Action, a firm representing British football players whose parent company is based in Panama.

“That company opened an account in an Andorran bank (where) there were many transactions that relate to their activities and especially to Francisco (Casal) who has represented football players for over 30 years”, he added. A controversial figure in the football world, Casal owns TV channel GolTV. Díaz Gilligan, has said of his friend "I trusted him".

Andorra renounced bank secrecy rules in 2016 but the measure approving automatic sharing of information on accounts held by non-residents only came into effect in January 2018.  

The Line Action account was opened in 2012 when Díaz Gilligan was an adviser for the City of Buenos Aires, El País reported. He kept that role until December 2014. The company was sold off in November, 2014, according to a BPA document.

Díaz Gilligan said Friday that he parted ways with the firm not “because it was an activity incompatible with public office” but because “I felt I had reached the end” with that particular business endeavour, which involved a personal favour to his associate Casal.

The public servant played down the controversy surrounding what is yet another case of a Macri government official allegedly holding funds in offshore ventures. A Perfil reported last weekend revealed Finance Minister Luis Caputo concealed his links to Cayman Island offshore firms from the Argentine authorities.

“It’s not the same to get rich off the State than to participate in a company that works in sports representation. These are two completely different worlds and that is what I feel this article (in El País) tries to confuse”, Díaz Gilligan concluded.

The Macri government is standing by Díaz Gilligan. However, the Anti-corruption Office (OA) has confirmed it will investigate the matter.


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