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News > Latin America

Former Chilean President Accused of Illegal Financing

  • Former Chilean President Sebastian Piñera delivers a speech during a campaign rally in Santiago.

    Former Chilean President Sebastian Piñera delivers a speech during a campaign rally in Santiago. | Photo: Reuters

Published 27 September 2017

Sebastian Piñera faces allegations of illegal funding while he was president between 2010 and 2014.

Chilean authorities are investigating irregular payments issued by a mining company to the presidential campaign of former President Sebastian Piñera in 2009, according to an investigation by El Mercurio.

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The Attorney General's office is looking into the creation of alleged false bills by the Chemical and Mining Society of Chile, also known as Soquimich or SQM, that were used to finance political candidacies for several politicians in the country.

Soquimich would have covered the cost services by a production company called Pandemia Limited Productions, which worked for Piñera's candidacy, according to the investigation.

"The invoices give an account of services we gave to Piñera for his campaign," said Maria Ines Alliende, who represents Pandemia.

"Even if they have been issued to a different person than the one we gave the services to, in the case of the invoice issued to Soquimich. As a producer, we did some activities for Sebastian Piñera, including for his campaign between the first and second round of late 2009 and early 2010."

The main bill presented in the case was an allegedly false invoice of about US$7,880, the amount that the company is accused of tax evasion for.

Alliende is married to Reynaldo Sepulveda, who led the Piñera government’s audiovisual production and now works for his current campaign, according to the prosecution.

“We do not have more information than what the press has published regarding this matter. Apparently, it would be an investigation that the prosecution started more than two years ago,” Piñera said.

"I want to reiterate that it is public knowledge that we have been subject of investigation in the past, we have collaborated with all the investigations and all of them have concluded that our campaign was 100 percent fit to the legal framework and that has demonstrated our total and absolute innocence. And I hope this case joins that trend.”

The businessman is the presidential candidate of the right-wing political block Chile Vamos and is leading the polls ahead of the November elections.

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