The Chilean opposition is attempting to impeach Pinera on the Pandora Papers allegations.
According to a lawmaker, Chile’s opposition attempted to impeach President Sebastian Pinera on Wednesday over the contentious sale of a mining company through a corporation owned by his children, which was revealed in the Pandora Papers leaks.
Pinera exploited “his office for personal business,” according to congressman Tomas Hirsch, who presented the charge in the lower house of Congress, the first stage in an impeachment process that may take weeks.
The move comes after the Chilean public prosecutor’s office started an investigation into the claims surrounding the sale of the Dominga mining firm in 2010, during Pinera’s first term in power.
The Pandora Papers leaks, a massive archive of reports on world leaders’ hidden wealth studied by the International Consortium of Journalists, spurred the investigation (ICIJ).
Pinera, one of Chile’s wealthiest men, has denied the allegations, claiming at the outset of the investigation that he had “complete faith that the courts, as they have already done, will certify there were no irregularities and also my total innocence.”
According to legislative sources, Chile’s Chamber of Deputies, which is controlled by the opposition, would have to vote on whether to approve or reject the indictment in the first week of November.
If it is approved, the matter will be sent to the Senate, which will have to function as a jury to decide Pinera’s fate.
His second term, which began in March 2018, will finish on March 11 of the following year.
The Panama Papers linked Pinera to the $152 million sale of Dominga to businessman Carlos Delano, a personal friend of the president, through a firm held by his children in 2010.
According to the report, the operation was carried out in major part in the British Virgin Islands.
It further claimed that a contentious phrase was introduced, which made the company’s final payment conditional on “not establishing an area of environmental protection in the mining company’s operations, as desired by environmental groups.”
The Chilean president has the authority to make that decision.