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Argentina's president denies Trump pressed him on a private tower deal

Updated:
Argentine President Mauricio Macri in an interview in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Aug. 8.

Argentine President Mauricio Macri in an interview in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Aug. 8.

Credit:

Agustin Marcarian/Reuters

It’s quite a claim: In a congratulatory phone call from Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri, President-elect Donald Trump allegedly asked for help getting permission for a Trump Tower in downtown Buenos Aires.

The claim was made Sunday by prominent Argentine journalist Jorge Lanata, and was soon picked up by major daily newspaper La Nacion

"Macri called him [Trump]. This hasn't been reported yet, but Trump asked him to authorize a building he's building in Buenos Aires. It wasn't just a geopolitical chat," Lanata alleged on a TV program.

But both the Argentine president and the Trump team deny the story completely.

“It’s absolutely untrue,” Macri’s spokesman Ivan Pavlozsky told us in a phone call Monday afternoon. “They talked about maintaining the relations between the countries … they didn’t talk about the tower at all.”

Moments later, USA Today reported that Trump transition team spokesman Jason Miller said the story was "Not true."

The journalist Lanata did not answer several phone calls for comment.

The storm over Trump's alleged communications has only heightened attention on the mogul's business dealings and how he will avoid conflicts of interest once sworn in.

The Trump organization is planning to build a tower in Buenos Aires. The building will be 35 stories high and will sit in the capital city's downtown, according to Spain's El Pais newspaper.

Just because a building is going up with Trump’s name on it also doesn’t mean the president-elect, or even the corporation bearing his name, will be heavily involved or invested in the project. A Trump-branded hotel recently opened in Rio de Janeiro, but Trump himself is not an investor in the project, according to the CEO of the company managing the hotel.

A Trump-branded hotel condo building opened in Panama in 2011. Another Trump condo building is under construction in the seaside city of Punta del Este, Uruguay, and is due to open in 2017.

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