According to a new book written by Clarin’s Natasha Niebieskikwiat, The Kidnapping (El Secuestro), President Mauricio Macri’s father Franco Macri apparently considered the possibility that US presidential candidate Donald Trump was behind his son’s kidnapping in 1991. Niebieskikwiat’s book hit shelves this week in Argentina, investigating every detail surrounding the case and digging up anecdotes from 25 years ago, including this hypothesis.
Let’s get some context. In August 1991, a gang of rogue former police officers snatched Mauricio Macri from the steps of his home, tied him up and stuffed him in the back of a van. For 13 days, Macri was locked in a basement room he knew only as “the box,” where his captors passed him food through a small hole in the roof, and he watched the media coverage of his kidnapping on a small television. He was later released, blindfolded and left with some money in the middle of the street at 2 AM after his father paid the ransom. The culprits were caught two months later.
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As for Trump, the Macris did business with him in the 1970s and 80s when they tried to to jointly build a huge tower in New York, an endeavor which turned out to be a failure. Trump even visited Buenos Aires in 1984 and Mauricio acted as host for him and his then wife Ivanka.
“The patriarch entered [a state of] paranoia in which [he thought] that Donald Trump had orchestrated his son’s kidnapping. The magnate had expelled [Macri] from Manhattan, where Franco had tried to enter the real estate business and also aspired to bigger prey, the garbage disposal [sector] […] A world of mafias, an impenetrable but [potentially] millionaire [making] and attractive one in which neither [Franco] nor the intrepid Mauricio could get ahead,” outlines The Kidnapping.
With that in mind, Franco asked for a meeting with Terence Todman, the US ambassador at the time, and asked for advice on hiring special agents to find his eldest son. Todman allegedly offered to put him in contact with Ackerman and Associates, a firm that specialized in ransom kidnapping headquartered in the US. If the name sounds familiar, that’s because they are the firm that Macri later used to investigate his son-in-law because he was concerned about his daughter’s well-being in what would become the plethora of wiretapping charges against the Macri family.
In the end, the “Trump hypothesis” was discarded, mostly because it became obvious that the kidnappers’ objective was money and the gang had obtained some notoriety previously for other cases: why Trump had been taken into consideration in the first place, aside from Franco Macri’s “paranoia” is not entirely clear.