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UPDATE 1-Argentina delays Avianca's market entry to avoid conflict of interest
March 6, 2017 / 9:24 PM / in 9 months

UPDATE 1-Argentina delays Avianca's market entry to avoid conflict of interest

(Adds transport minister quote, background)

BUENOS AIRES, March 6 (Reuters) - Argentina will delay approval of Avianca Holdings SA’s entry into the local market until a new norm governing business conflicts of interest is approved, Transportation Minister Guillermo Dietrich said on Monday.

Last week, a federal prosecutor asked a judge for permission to investigate President Mauricio Macri and others over allegations he favored the Colombian airline in a plan to open more routes. His father’s company sold another airline to Avianca last year.

“Regarding Avianca, we have decided to tie the approval process to a new rule that will be published soon and seeks to prevent possible conflict of interest,” Dietrich told a news conference.

At the start of the month, Macri vowed to issue decrees to crack down on conflicts of interest as prosecutors push to investigate his family’s business ties, including the deal between Avianca and the president’s father.

The elder Macri, Franco, is one of Argentina’s richest men.

Last month, the president was criticized over a deal his government reached to resolve a 15-year old debt the postal service incurred when it was owned by Franco Macri, with prosecutors claiming the deal benefited his family.

The president said at the time that the deal had been handled legally, but apologized for a lack of transparency and revoked the agreement. (Reporting by Luc Cohen; Writing by Hugh Bronstein; editing by Grant McCool and Jonathan Oatis)

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