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The shadow of impeachment hovers over Piñera after Pandora’s papers

The shadow of a political trial began to hover over the president of Chile, the conservative Sebastián Piñera, on Monday after the investigation Pandora Papers reveal alleged irregularities in the sale made in the British Virgin Islands of its shares in a mining project.

Piñera, who will leave office in March 2022, described the publication as “unacceptable” and assured that all the facts revealed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) were already investigated and dismissed in court in 2017.

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“As President of the Republic, I have never ceased to privilege the public interest, the common good, over any other interest and, in fact, the fact of being president has meant personal harm and not benefits,” said the president in a press conference in La Moneda (seat of Government).

From the opposition, however, they are already talking about promoting a constitutional accusation (impeachment) against the one who is considered the owner of one of the largest fortunes in Chile, with almost 3,000 million dollars of assets.

“The only thing that fits is a constitutional accusation and his immediate dismissal. There are two signatures for a constitutional accusation that requires 10. Eight deputies are missing to do what needs to be done, ”announced Pamela Jiles, of the Humanist Party.

“A president who negotiates with his partners the dignity of Chileans, who speculates at the expense of the environment, who uses his power for his own purposes and who evades taxes in the process, is a president who should not continue in office. We are evaluating actions, ”said Deputy Claudia Mix, from the leftist Comunes.

The constitutional accusation can lead to the dismissal or disqualification from holding public office of the accused and for it to prosper, an absolute majority in the Chamber of Deputies is required.

If I finally present myself, it would be the second attempt to politically judge the president, after the failed attempt in November 2019 for alleged human rights violations amid the massive protests against inequality, the most serious since the end of the military dictatorship.

Various experts, meanwhile, warn that the constitutional accusation would not be viable since the events in question occurred at the beginning of his first term (2010-2014).


An investigation by the ICIJ, in collaboration with the Chilean media CIPER and LaBot, revealed this Sunday that a part of the Minera Dominga project (138 million dollars) was sold in 2010 to the businessman and friend of the presidential family Carlos Alberto Délano in an operation carried out in the British Virgin Islands.

The payment was supposed to take place in three installments, but the last one was conditional on the area where Dominga was going to be built not to be declared of environmental protection, something that was finally fulfilled, according to the ICIJ.

The president assured that the sale of the mining company, which is not yet under construction and which commits an investment of 2,500 million dollars, was carried out by his blind trust and that he was neither consulted nor informed “precisely to avoid any hint of conflict of interests”.

“Since April 2009, more than 12 years ago, and before assuming my first presidency, I completely and totally detached myself from the administration and management of family businesses and from any other company in which I had participated”, added.

According to the local newspaper La Tercera, the national prosecutor, Jorge Abbot, instructed the Anticorruption Unit to analyze the antecedents that exist on the million-dollar sale of Minera Dominga in case there were signs of crime.

The ruling party has centered around Piñera, although Pandora’s papers threaten to cloud the presidential career of the official candidate, former Minister Sebastián Sichel, who only said on Twitter on Sunday that “it is necessary to go beyond what is legal and give all the necessary explanations ”.

“The left is desperate, and months after a presidential election, it refloats a lie about something that was investigated from the Prosecutor’s Office to the Supreme Court, and there is no crime,” said Senator Iván Moreira, of the far-right Democratic Union Independent (UDI).

Piñera is, along with the Ecuadorian Guillermo Lasso and the Dominican Luis Abinader, one of the three active Latin American presidents dotted by this investigation, which has once again shaken the world after the 2016 Panama papers.


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