Treasury Minister Nicolás Dujovne (right) and his Spanish counterpart Cristóbal Montoro at today's panel hosted by EFE in Madrid, Spain. (Photo via EFE / J.J. Guillén)

Treasury Minister Nicolás Dujovne faced some awkward questions about keeping his personal finances abroad and the poverty rate during a panel in Madrid today.

After having expressed his vision for the Argentine economy at an event hosted by the Spanish news agency EFE, Dujovne was asked by an economics professor how he expects investment in Argentina to increase if he personally held his finances abroad or “offshore.”

Jorge Fonseca, an Applied Economics professor at the Universidad Complutense in Madrid, also accused Dujovne of lying about the poverty rate.

You can see A video of the exchange here.

During his presentation, Dujovne had noted that the povery rate had fallen from 32 to 28 percent according to the INDEC during President Mauricio Macri’s administration, and Fonseca took issue with that, saying that the poverty rate had risen from 28 percent to 31.9 percent.

Treasury Minister Nicolás Dujovne is currently in Spain (Photo via EFE / J.J. Guillén)
Treasury Minister Nicolás Dujovne is currently in Spain (Photo via EFE / J.J. Guillén)

“I think that the problem here is that the Complutense professor is using the INDEC statistics bureau during the previous government, which was being manipulated” started Dujovne in response. Fonseca responded from the audience that the figures he cited were from the Universidad Católica Argentina (UCA), which he said had always been used as a reference. In December 2017 the UCA set the poverty rate at just over 31 percent.

Dujovne continued by saying that the “INDEC essentially didn’t measure poverty during the Kirchner years to hide the figures and we have to take first INDEC figures after the end of the abhorrent manipulation by (Guillermo) Moreno, that was led by (former president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner) during her government. And the first figure published by the restored INDEC indicated poverty of over 32 percent and now it’s at 28 percent.”

Dujovne continued by saying that “with respect to my assets, also in contrast to what used to take place during the previous government, has been completely declared and submitted to the Anti-Corruption Office.”

In conversation with the press afterwards, Fonseca said that the questions were in the interest of “rigor” and not in defense of a particular political position. Dujovne added that didn’t feel uncomfortable with the questions but that he didn’t appreciate what he called were “bad manners.”