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Montevideo, March 29th 2023 - 19:35 UTC



Chile's richest man leaves LAN and dreams of becoming president

Wednesday, August 1st 2007 - 21:00 UTC
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“I'm willing to be presidential candidate and I'm preparing for it” said Piñera “I'm willing to be presidential candidate and I'm preparing for it” said Piñera

Chilean billionaire and former presidential candidate Sebastian Piñera has resigned as director of airline LAN, less than a month after he was fined for buying shares in the company while in possession of privileged information.

He nevertheless admitted his main goal in life was to become president of all Chileans and be remembered for having ended corruption, stopped crime and promoted education for all Chileans. In a brief statement to the Santiago stock exchange on Tuesday, LAN said it was notified of Piñera's decision on Monday. It gave no further details. Piñera, one of Chile's richest men, was fined about 700,000 US dollars by the stock exchange regulator on July 6 after buying 3 million LAN shares in July last year while allegedly having information about the company's unpublished second-quarter results. However Piñera claimed it was all a "political setup" and the regulator accepted the transaction was not driven by his knowledge of that information. Piñera bought the LAN shares on July 24, 2006, the day before the airline published its results. When LAN published the earnings figures the following day, showing its first-half profit had risen 32%, its shares rose sharply. But Piñera, a center-right politician as well as a businessman, who narrowly lost to Socialist Michelle Bachelet in Chile's presidential election in 2005, is widely expected to run again in the next election, due in 2009. "Before becoming a candidate I have taken the decision to absolutely relinquish from the administration and property of all the companies that can cause controversy or generate a conflict of interests with my life's calling which is public service" confessed Piñera during a television interview. Apparently this also includes the television station Chilevision, Lan Chile and Quintec an advanced technology company. Piñera said he's considering selling his shares in those companies and putting the money into two foundations. "The rest of my assets are to be invested in fixed income funds, the same as all the seven million Chilean workers with their pension funds. A third option is overseas", he added. "I'm willing to be presidential candidate and I'm preparing for it", but declined any self proclamation since that "belongs to the parties and when the time is right". Piñera said running for president does not only mean winning the election "but preparing for a good administration and a good administration needs a lot of thinking and planning, and no improvising". That is why since a long time "we're reading technical teams for a good government program, and if elected, to be recalled by history in good memory". "I have a dream: I would like if elected president of Chile to be remembered as the president that defeated corruption which is totally feasible. The President that stopped short crime which currently is a bitter experience for 80% of Chileans and the president who improved the quality of education for future generations".

Categories: Politics, Latin America.

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