Argentine commerce secretary charged with abusing power; fined economists for inflation data

Argentine Commerce Secretary Guillermo Moreno has been formally charged with abusing his power by trying to fine economists who publish independent inflation data.

Judge Claudio Bonadio also placed a 50,000-peso ($8,735) lien on Moreno's assets pending trial, and filed similar charges against two lower-ranking commerce ministry officials.

The judge said Moreno's efforts to fine economists 500,000 pesos (roughly $87,700 at today's official rate) was "nothing other than an effort to silence" experts who were releasing public information in the form of technical data that challenged the government's official numbers.