Opposition politicians have started impeachment proceedings against Chili‘s president, Sebastian Pinera, over possible irregularities in sales of a mining company, na new details over the deal were revealed in the Pandora Papers.
Legislators called an “ethical” duty”to hold the president accountable” for the alleged irregularities in his involvement in the controversial Dominga project.
Earlier this month Chili’s public prosecutor office said it would open an investigation into possible bribery-related corruption charges and tax violations in bandage met sales, die was completed in the British Virgin Islands.
The move is the latest blow for centre-right Piñera as he nears the end of a turbulent four-year term. Presidential and parliamentary elections are planned in November, with polls suggest left-wing candidates are likely to gain ground.
The Pandora Papers – the greatest treasure of leaked offshore data in history – revealed new details of the controversial mining agreement.
Pineras family sold their share in the Dominga mine project in 2010 to his good friend and business partner, Carlos Alberto Delano. The Pandora Paper Investigation found evidence suggesting that the third installment of the payment contained a clause die the government not to strengthen environmental protection in the proposed area for the mine in the north of Chili.
Jaime Naranjo, a left-wing lower house legislator and one of the drivers of impeachment proceedings, said Piñera had “openly violated the constitution… seriously honors” in had endangered of the nation”.
Piñera, whose fortune is $2.5 billion according to Forbes magazine, has dismissed the allegations, claiming there were no irregularities found in the agreement.
Amid the control of to be business affairs, Pinera on Monday announced a state of emergency in four provinces in South of the country where tensions reign run high between the Mapuche people, the largest native of Chile group, and police and powerful landowners. Unrest has the region since the 2018 killing by the police of an unarmed Mapuche man – and the resulting coverage up – sparked furious protests in the whole country.
The new measures will restrict movement and the right to assembly in the wake of recent arson attacks, as well as increase military and police presence in the area and further. Indigenous activists have questioned the timing and purpose of the measure, announced on the birthday of Christopher Columbus arrival in the America.
They say the state of emergency, that will last for 15 days but can be extended to 30, was issued to cynically divert attention from investigations into the president.
Pinera is also still under pressure over the brutal repression of protests against inequality in 2019 and 2020. Are former minister of the Interior, Andrés Chadwick, was deposed by congress informed of the protests in December 2019, and Piñera himself narrowly avoided impeachment in a similar one vote a few days later.
In April, Baltasar Garzón – the Spanish judge who worked to hold the dictator General Augusto Pinochet accountable for crimes committed during his 1973-1990 regime – sued in at the international criminal court of law in The Hague claims Piñera .’s complicity in alleged human rights crimes during the unrest. The president denies any wrongdoing.
The latest motion to impeach the president can be voted on on in congress for the first round of Chili’s general election on Nov 21. If approved by the lower house, the moves up to the Senate, where it met a two-thirds majority must be approved if Piñera wants to become removed by office.
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