After about an hour of reports suggesting President-elect Donald Trump spoke with Argentine President Mauricio Macri about one of the Trump Organization's building projects in Buenos Aires, the capital city, a spokesperson for the president came out to put the kibosh on the rumor.
A spokesperson for Macri told PRI/BBC correspondent Will Carless they "didn't talk about" any business dealings and that the reports implying as much are "absolutely untrue."
“They didn’t talk about the (Trump) tower at all” spokesman for Argentina’s president just told me. “It’s absolutel… https://t.co/xhdfxdfK9H— Will Carless (@Will Carless)1479752347.0
And in a statement to BuzzFeed News, Ivan Pavlovsky, the Argentine leader's spokesman, said, "Trump and President Macri only spoke about maintaining the institutional relationship between the two countries. They then recalled their personal relationship. They never spoke of the tower."
The report first came to light when Argentine journalist Jorge Lanata, host of the weekly program "Periodismo Para Todos," said, "Trump asked for permits for a building he is erecting in Buenos Aires. It was not just a geopolitical conversation."
The billionaire businessman had originally gained the necessary permits to build the tower in the city's 9 de Julio district, but the money well ran dry before the project could be completed, reporter Romina Manguel said during the show Sunday. The YY Development Group approached Trump in March with a partnership offer.
The report was first picked up in the United States Monday afternoon by Talking Points Memo.
According to La Nacion, which was the first Spanish publication to report on the call between Trump and Macri, the beginning stages of construction of the 35-story tower, which is worth around $100 million, could be completed by 2020, but city officials have been pumping the brakes on the project in part because of unfavorable foreign exchange rates.
Regardless, Felipe Yaryura, the executive partner of YY Development Group, which led the construction of the Trump Tower in Punta del Este, Uruguay, and is spearheading this Argentinian development, flew to Manhattan earlier this month to celebrate with the Trump family on Election Day.
"The relationship between President Macri and Trump will be very, very dominating," Yaryura told a Buenos Aires-based radio station Friday. "We will have the possibility of being one of the first countries to produce an important commercial agreement with the United States."
Trump has repeatedly vowed to put his companies in a "blind trust" when he becomes president, but concerns remain about potential conflicts of interest, especially given the fact that Jared Kushner, who is married to Trump's daughter, Ivanka, who will be running the Trump Organization, is considered one of the president-elect's closest advisors.