March 18, 2017 / 12:28 AM / in 8 months

Cousin of Argentina's Macri sells company to avoid conflicts

BUENOS AIRES, March 17 (Reuters) - Argentine businessman Angel Calcaterra, a cousin of President Mauricio Macri, sold his construction company to avoid any conflicts of interest, a spokesman for the company told Reuters on Friday.

Calcaterra’s Iecsa construction company was bought by a group of investors who own Pampa Energia SA, one of Argentina’s main electricity companies. In a statement sent to journalists, the company’s new board said the company would be renamed Strategic Construction and Development Group of Argentina, or Sacde by its Spanish acronym.

The move comes as Macri’s government is taking steps to prevent further complaints about the first-term leader’s business ties. Earlier this month, the administration delayed approving the local market entry of Colombian airline Avianca Holdings SA until it could finalize new rules governing business conflicts of interest.

That came after a federal prosecutor asked a judge for permission to investigate Macri over allegations he favored the airline in a plan to open more routes. A company owned by his father, Franco Macri, one of Argentina’s richest men, sold another airline to Avianca last year. Last month the president was criticized over a deal his government reached to resolve a 15-year-old debt the postal service incurred when it was owned by Franco Macri, with prosecutors claiming the deal benefited his family.

Calcaterra sold Iecsa, which had bid on government contracts, “to avoid any more possible conflicts of interest,” the company spokesman said.

Macri’s government is expected to launch billions of dollars in public works contracts this year as part of a major infrastructure push. (Reporting by Nicolas Misculin; Writing by Hugh Bronstein and Luc Cohen; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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