MEXICO CITY, Mexico — Argentine president Mauricio Macri's office denied on Monday that President-elect Donald Trump asked him to approve construction of a tower his company is building in the capital city, Buenos Aires, during a post-electoral victory phone call between the two, according to a local report.
"Trump and President Macri only spoke about maintaining the institutional relationship between the two countries," Ivan Pavlovsky, Macri's spokesperson, told BuzzFeed News. "They then recalled their personal relationship. They never spoke of the tower."
Macri had previously stated in an interview with BuzzFeed News that he would prefer Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton win the 2016 election.
The denial came after Argentine journalist Jorge Lanata said during his weekly television show Periodismo Para Todos that "Trump asked for permits for a building he is erecting in Buenos Aires. It was not just a geopolitical conversation."
Trump had acquired the necessary permits to build to build a tower in the 9 de Julio area of the city but ran out of money, reporter Romina Manguel told Lanata during his show on Sunday. In March, YY Development Group approached Trump's company to propose a partnership.
Lanata's remarks were first picked up in Spanish by Argentine newspaper La Nacion and in English by Talking Points Memo.
The Trump transition team did not immediately responded to a request for comment from BuzzFeed News.
Earlier this month, Felipe Yaryura, the executive partner of YY Development Group — which built the Trump Tower in Punta del Este, Uruguay, and is in charge of the project in Argentina — traveled to New York to celebrate with the Trump family during election night.
"The relationship between President Macri and Trump will be very, very dominating," Yaryura told a Buenos Aires radio station on Friday. "We will have the possibility of being one of the first countries to produce an important commercial agreement with the United States." Yaryura added that the announcement of Trump's construction in Buenos Aires is "imminent."
According to La Nacion, the beginning of construction on the 35-story building, which is worth $100 million and could be completed by 2020, has been held up by the city council and unfavorable foreign exchange rates.
Japanese newspaper The Asahi Shimbun reported Monday evening that Ivanka Trump joined the call, according to an exclusive interview with Macri. Pavlovsky confirmed that a 30-second conversation between Macri and the president-elect's daughter took place but said that it was limited to pleasantries.
Trump has said that he will place is companies in a "blind trust" to be managed by his children, an arrangement that experts, including George W Bush's own ethics lawyer, say may not fulfill the requirements of a blind trust. Ivanka, his eldest daughter and member of the transition team, sat in on a meeting between Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday.
The president-elect also took time out to meet with Indian business partners at some point after the election. Diplomats in Washington are also already making plans on how to curry favor with the Trump administration through staying at Trump-branded hotels, the Washington Post reported.
Karla Zabludovsky is the Mexico bureau chief and Latin America correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in Mexico City.
Contact Karla Zabludovsky at Karla.Zabludovsky@buzzfeed.com.
Hayes Brown is a world news editor and reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Hayes Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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