Fact Check: Argentina

906 days, 20 hours, 54 minutes ago

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Did CFK hold a secret meeting in Morocco?

Fact Check Argentina has received unconfirmed reports that during a stopover in Morocco en route to her state visit to China in February, President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner held a meeting with a businessman named Miloud Chaabi in Morocco.  The meeting, we understand, took place at the Royal Mansour Hotel, where the president was staying.

We can only speculate as to the reason for Cristina’s extended visit to Morocco, or who else she might have met with.  It’s well known that Cristina has visited Morocco multiple times and has used it as a place to stash Tango 1 when traveling to jurisdictions where she fears it could be seized by creditors.

While this visit was described by the Argentine government as a “technical stopover,” the timestamps from tweets from President Kirchner’s own Twitter account lasted about 26 hours, and her tweets indicated that there was some preparation put into this visit.

This brings us back to Miloud Chaabi.  Who is he, and why would Cristina have met with him? According to press reports and publicly available documents, Chaabi is reportedly one of Morocco’s wealthiest citizens.  He owns Banque Populaire, which is the umbrella banking group for a number of financial entities including Chaabi Bank, which has branches in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.  Chaabi’s banking group held up to US$28 billion in assets as of 2012, and Chaabi personally has a fortune estimated by some at US$1.3 billion.  Until recently, he served in the Moroccan Parliament.

Morocco is also a destination for other members of the Kirchner family. Fact Check has been told by sources in Morocco that Social Development Minister Alicia Kirchner visited Morocco for several days in January, shortly before the President’s own arrival there.  Minister Kirchner reportedly stayed at the Argentine ambassador’s residence while she was there.

We wonder about the significance of Morocco given Cristina’s frequent travel there, and how it might fit into the future plans for the President and her family.  We invite our Fact Check readers to send us tips and further verification about Cristina’s meeting with Miloud Chaabi in Morocco.