Argentina's Mauricio Macri. Picture: BLOOMBERG/PATRICIO PIDAL
Argentina's Mauricio Macri. Picture: BLOOMBERG/PATRICIO PIDAL

Buenos Aires — Argentina’s attorney-general is looking into an accusation of "abuse of power" against President Mauricio Macri after he agreed to a $50bn loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), his office said on Wednesday.

Attorney-general Jorge Di Lello has also asked that Argentina’s IMF agreement be suspended until a decision is made whether to proceed with a case against Macri.

"There’s a formal accusation because there’s an attribution problem and it’s possible that the president and his ministers did not have the right to sign such an accord," Javier Delio, the attorney-general’s secretary, told AFP.

The case comes from a complaint made by former deputy Claudio Lozano and the city rights observatory, who accuse members of the executive of "abuse of power and violation of public duties in bypassing congress to sign an accord with the IMF". The plaintiffs claim that Argentina’s 2018 budget law does not authorise the executive to sign agreements with the IMF.

The case has been passed to federal judge Julian Ercolini to study the evidence and decide whether or not to proceed with an investigation.

In June, Macri agreed a three-year $50bn loan with the IMF to try to solve the country’s economic woes. Argentina was facing mounting inflation, budget deficits and a weakening currency. However, despite receiving an initial $15bn tranche of the loan in June, Argentina’s economy has worsened while investor confidence has dropped.

Inflation over the past 12 months is at about 30% while the peso dropped to a record low of almost 40 against the dollar last week, with the central bank trying to stop the rot by hiking interest rates to a world-high 60%.

Macri’s finance minister Nicolás Dujovne was in talks with the IMF in Washington on Wednesday looking to negotiate an accelerated disbursement of the remainder of the loan.