January 14, 2011 - BUENOS AIRES - Argentine thieves stole at least $68,000 that was meant to be used as spending money for officials during a trip by President Cristina Fernandez to the Middle East.
Local media said armed thieves mugged a presidential official who was walking in the street with the money in a backpack and forced him to hand over the bag before speeding off on a motorbike.
The official had been given the cash to take on a trip by Fernandez to Turkey, Qatar and Kuwait to pay the expenses of officials accompanying her.
“(The robbery) happened yesterday and it’s been reported to the police,” government spokesman Alfredo Scoccimarro said yesterday, shortly before Fernandez was due to leave.
The incident comes amid a surge in drive-by robberies in Argentina. In many cases, the thieves target people as they leave banks carrying large quantities of cash.