President-elect Donald Trump reportedly spoke about a private business deal during a congratulatory phone call with Argentine President Mauricio Macri.
“Macri called him. This still hasn’t emerged but Trump asked for them to authorize a building he’s constructing in Buenos Aires, it wasn’t just a geopolitical chat,” wrote journalist Jorge Lanata in La Nacion, according to a translation of the article by Talking Points Memo.
For several years, Trump and some of his business partners have been trying to get approval to build a large office building in the city, but the project has been stalled for years because of local government bureaucracy in Argentina's capital.
The “chat” between Trump and Macri allegedly included talk about this project.
Other reports indicate Trump used his presidential role to expedite a personal business deal.
“Macri told Trump that Argentina is welcoming foreign investment now, and Trump replied that he has a $150 million investment in Argentina stalled because of a building permit in Buenos Aires,” journalist Romina Manguel told The Guardian.
But Macri’s spokesman, Ivan Pavlovsky, denied the reports.
“Macri did not speak to Donald Trump about the building of the tower,” Pavlovsky said. “They only talked about continuing the relationship between the two countries and recalled their personal relationship from years ago.”
Although Trump, a billionaire businessman with interests across the world, faced greater scrutiny regarding his international business dealings during the general election, that scrutiny has intensified ever since his upset victory against Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
During the first week after his election, Trump met with three Indian business executives who have partnered with him on a luxury apartment building in Mumbai that bears the Trump name and brand.
The meeting raised questions about whether Trump is still conducting personal business after saying he would transfer all of his business responsibilities to his children, Ivanka, Eric and Donald Jr.
But Trump spokeswoman Breanna Butler denied the meeting with the Indian business owners was ethically questionable.
“It was not a formal meeting of any kind,” she said, according to The New York Times.
One of the Indian businessmen, Sagar Chordia, confirmed an Indian newspaper account that reported he and his partners talked to the Trump family about expanding their business dealings.