Deputies from all Chilean opposition parties presented to Congress this Wednesday an indictment to impeach the country’s President, Sebastián Piñera, for the controversial sale of a mining company in a tax haven, revealed in the Pandora Papers case. President Piñera used “the post for personal business,” said Deputy Tomás Hirsch when presenting the indictment in the Chamber of Deputies. The first step in a dismissal process that can take several weeks.
This constitutional accusation, which according to the conservative Chilean president “has no basis at all”, is in addition to a criminal investigation opened by the Public Ministry five days ago for the same operation: the sale, in 2010, of mining company Dominga by a company of the Piñera’s sons, when the President was in his first term, between 2010 and 2014. Now, the Chamber of Deputies must decide whether to approve or reject the indictment. A vote will take place in the first week of November, congressional sources told AFP.
If approved, the indictment will go to the Senate, which, in turn, will define the fate of Piñera, whose second term, which began in March 2018, will end on March 11, 2022.
The publication of the Pandora Papers ten days ago has increased pressure on Piñera, one of Chile’s richest men, who insists on his innocence and claims that he left managing companies in 2009, before taking his first term as president. Which means that it had no participation in the sale of mining company Dominga.
According to an investigation by the Chilean media Ciper and LaBot, which is part of the reports on the Pandora Papers of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), mining company Dominga was sold to businessman Carlos Alberto Délano, a close friend of Piñera, for 152 million dollars. A deal done, in part, in the British Virgin Islands.
Piñera’s government, according to the investigation, ended up not protecting the mine area, meaning that the third payment was made.