On Tuesday, after almost 24 hours of debate, the Chilean Lower House approved to start a political trial against President Sebastian Piñera, who evaded taxes and set up a mining company in the Coquimbo region, which environmentalists considered should be protected.
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"We are witnessing the consequences of having an entrepreneurial President, who did not separate business from politics," said lawmaker Jaime Naranjo, who promoted the initiative upon hearing from Piñera’s financial crimes that the Pandora Papers revealed.
In December 2010, the sons of Piñera sold the mining company Dominga to businessman and Carlos Delano, a close friend of their father's through an agreement signed in Chile for US$14 million and another one signed for US$138 million in the British Virgin Islands, which is a tax haven.
Delano paid the amount in three installments, the last of which was conditional upon the absence of environmental protection in the Coquimbo region. Since Piñera already served as president, he soon determined to leave the region unprotected and establish the mining company.
"The Piñera family violated the Constitution by carrying out offshore financial operations, dishonored the nation by favoring the sale of a business to a close friend, and did not accept the suggestions of environmental activists. How then can the President demand respect for himself?" Naranjo stressed.
Piñera alleged that he did not know of the sale until his first administration ended in 2014, that all taxes were paid in Chile and that the judicial investigation into the financial operations ended in dismissal.
There is no statute of limitations in the commission of a Constitutional crime, Naranjo refuted and stressed that the Senate is likely to ratify the lawmakers’ resolution.