Finance Minister Luis Caputo will appear before a special committee in the Lower House to answer questions regarding the state of the country’s public debt and his personal relationship with several offshore organizations on April 4 at 9 AM, the local media reported today.
Caputo was set to do it this week, but government representatives argued that he would only do so once the Oversight and Control of Public Debt Committee was formed and operational.
Now that it is, the date has been set. The committee will be presided by Bloque Justicialista Deputy José Mayans.
“As Cambiemos lawmakers previously informed, I wanted to appear before the committee today and clarify any issue the lawmakers could be interested in. But Congress authorities have informed me that the call will finally take place on April 4, so I will be there then,” Caputo said today.
Caputo’s presence had already been confirmed by Cabinet Chief Marcos Peña last week in his first briefing of the year before the Lower House. The minister has been consistently criticized by representatives of the opposition because of the issues mentioned above. But the fire under which he currently is intensified significantly two weeks ago after La Nación and Perfil published documents presented to the US’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) showing that Caputo owned Noctua Partners LLC, a company registered in the United States whose activities were revealed in the release of the Paradise Papers in November of 2017.
The information challenges the explanation the minister had provided regarding his involvement in the company when his name showed up in the trove of 13.4 million documents that were hacked and leaked to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICJ) last year.
Back then, he said he was just an adviser of the company, which operated in tax havens such as Delaware and the Cayman Islands and that, “as far as he knew,” he didn’t own any stock in the company. “It is not important either because it is a company that is not worth anything on its own, it’s worth depends on the portfolio it manages,” he said. However, in the documents turned over to the SEC, the company indicates that “our main owner is Noctua Partners II LP, a company registered in the Cayman Islands, and indirectly, by Luis Caputo and Martín Guyot.”
Ahead of Peña’s briefing, the Bloque Justicialista submitted a written request noting that “there is a worrying delay in the production of complete, official, public and reliable information produced by the Finance Ministry about the state of the national debt.”
The lawmakers pointed to an eight month delay in the publication of the data and argued that the US $63 billion increase in the public debt from 2015 to 2017 “had no impact on the development of our country but rather increased capital flight to the detriment of Argentine’s interests and putting the future country at risk.”