Photo: Ricardo Figueredo

Getting back from Punta del Este is always a hassle. Long lines and ferries forcing you to those don dubious looking cloth booties before getting on the ship are far from a walk in the park. The annoyance is part of the package for most of us, but in case you needed reminding — First Lady Juliana Awada is not “most of us.”

According to Uruguayan newspaper El País, President Macri sent one of the three presidential helicopters, the H002, to pick up both his wife and their daughter on Thursday, February 1st after they finished their vacation.

Photo: Ricardo Figueredo (El País)
Photo: Ricardo Figueredo (El País)

Juliana Awada and 5-year-old Antonia had been on holidays in Punta del Este since Monday after spending the weekend with Macri in Chapadmalal. Reports say the helicopter arrived at Laguna del Sauce airport at 4:30 PM, and picked up the First Lady and her daughter about two hours later, taking off around 6:20 PM.

Unsurprisingly, the fact that the President commissioned the presidential helicopter — and consequently taxpayer money — for a trip that wasn’t official State business didn’t go over great. Many vented their thoughts out on social media. While some defended the taxi-like use of the presidential aircraft saying it’s part of the “security protocol”, Laura Alonso, the head of the Anti-corruption Agency, said on conversation with Radio Mitre that “the President and his family must make an austere use of the State goods.”

Twitter users, always on point, shared their views on the subject, too.

Others reports claimed that there was an interesting detail on the vehicle bringing the First Lady and her daughter to the airport — the words “Julius Bär”  being on the side.

Turns out Julius Bär is where Macri has USD $1.3 million savings deposited. However, the money was first kept in Merrill Lynch accounts in Switzerland and the United States, but, according to the New York Times, “was transferred to the Bahamas after Julius Bär bought the Merrill Lynch international wealth management unit.”

Last year, Macri said he would bring his savings back to the country and buy treasury notes as a way of showing confidence about the country’s economy recovery.

Edit Sunday, February 5: Earlier reports indicated the car carrying the First Lady was branded with the Swiss investment bank Julius Bär’s logo. While this is true, it was due to a longstanding agreement between the car service and the bank and was not, as some sources claimed, an indicator that financial activity was taking place during the trip.