Police raid Argentine central bank in case over sale of dollars

Argentina's newly appointed Central Bank President Alejandro Vanoli pauses during a meeting with members of the Argentine Banks Association (ADEBA) at the Central Bank headquarters in Buenos Aires October 6, 2014. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Police raided the trading desk of Argentina's central bank on Tuesday after a prosecutor accused the monetary regulator's president of directing the bank to sell U.S. dollar reserves at a rate below that on the international futures market. In a statement, the central bank denied any wrongdoing and blamed what it said was a politically motivated witch-hunt against the bank's chief, Alejandro Vanoli, ahead of Sunday's presidential run-off election. "The bank reiterates that its interventions in the futures market have been absolutely transparent," the central bank said. "The complaint filed by two opposition lawmakers regarding these transactions is unfounded and seeks only to make an impact on the election." Opposition challenger Mauricio Macri is ahead in opinion poll against his ruling party rival Daniel Scioli six days ahead of the Nov. 22 second round vote. Macri is the mayor of Buenos Aires city, whose municipal police force conducted the raid. The bank said the police operation came after it had already turned over all the information and documents requested by a federal judge. Vanoli, who was appointed by outgoing President Cristina Fernandez last year, last week accused the opposition of leveling false charges to force him from office. He says he intends to stay on until the end of his term in 2019. (Reporting by Walter Bianchi; Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Christian Plumb)