As Argentine corruption probe grows, Macri allies feel the heat

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – A judicial probe of possible corruption during Argentina’s last government is also threatening the new administration as some of President Mauricio Macri’s own allies face investigation.

Macri, a centre-rightist, took over as president in December from outgoing leftist Cristina Fernandez, pledging to root out corruption as well as implement sweeping market-friendly economic reforms.

Investigations have already led to the arrest of a Fernandez ally and landed the ex-president in court for questioning. But now questions are also being asked of some close to Macri, threatening to taint his image.

Iecsa, a construction firm that is part of the Macri family empire and controlled by his cousin Angel Calcaterra, is one of nearly 100 companies in Argentina being investigated as part of Brazil’s growing “Car Wash” scandal, an Argentine judicial source close to the case told Reuters.

The source did not provide specifics of the Iecsa case, but the “Car Wash” probe has focused on kickbacks and other irregularities in bloated contracts at state oil firm Petrobras.

A source close to Iecsa said the company “has never been notified of any investigation”.

Government anti-money laundering and anti-corruption officials, newly appointed by Macri, are pushing to investigate corruption under Fernandez’s administration.

They have encouraged whistleblowers to come forward and offered lighter punishments for wrongdoers in exchange for information.

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