Chilean MPs on Tuesday approved an impeachment procedure launched against President Sebastian Piñera for the controversial sale of a mining company, carried out in a tax haven and revealed by the international investigation of the Pandora Papers.
After this green light from the Chamber of Deputies, controlled by the opposition (83 of the 155 seats), it is the turn of the Senate to decide by a two-thirds vote – very difficult to obtain – before the general elections of 21 November where a new president will be elected and the Parliament renewed.
“He acted by seeking his personal benefit and that of his own family, using information which he had access thanks to his functions of president”, denounced during a debate started Monday morning the Socialist deputy Jaime Naranjo, who s ‘is expressed for 15 hours reading a text of 1,300 pages and calling for “an end to impunity”.
“I beg you, gentlemen of the deputies, reject this unjust and inadmissible constitutional accusation,” said the president’s lawyer, Jorge Gálvez, for his part.
Sebastian Piñera, one of the political leaders appearing in the Pandora Papers, the investigation carried out by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), denied any conflict of interest in the sale of the mine to a relative and proclaims his ” total innocence ”.
The right-wing president, one of the richest men in Chile, believes that in 2017 there was already “a thorough investigation by the public prosecutor” and that it is “a case closed by justice”.
However, the prosecution argued that the facts related to the sale and purchase of the mining company “were not expressly included” in the 2017 dismissal decision.
According to an investigation by the Chilean media CIPER and LaBot, members of the ICIJ, the mining company Minera Dominga was sold to businessman Carlos Alberto Délano, a friend of the head of state, for 152 million euros. dollars, a transaction related to the British Virgin Islands.
Payment for the transaction was to be made in three installments, and contained a controversial payment clause that made the latter conditional “that an environmental protection zone not be established on the mining company’s operating area, such as ask environmental groups ”.
According to the investigation, Sebastian Piñera’s government ultimately failed to protect the area where mining was planned, so the third payment was made.
For the deputy Tomas Hirsch (humanist action, left), President Piñera has “so that a unique area on the planet is declared a nature reserve, only to promote his personal interests”.