Chile's opposition has agreed Tuesday to seek the impeachment of President Sebastián Piñera after the head of state's name came out in the so-called Pandora Papers report, which mentioned political leaders and celebrities worldwide who have or have had investments in tax havens.
Money transactions in these countries are not illegal per se, but the tax evasion they usually entail is, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) which wrote the Pandora Papers has warned.
Chile's opposition deputies Tuesday agreed Piñera's businesses and his role as head of state showed a conflict of interest worth investigating.
Regarding Piñera, the Pandora Papers have uncovered a clause in the 2010 sale of the Dominga mine for US $ 152 million between the Piñera family and their best friend Carlos Alberto Délano in the British Virgin Islands. Délano was convicted in 2018 for a tax offence and illegal financing of political leaders and organizations.
These interests may have played a role in the Piñera government not declaring the commune of La Higuera a nature sanctuary, where 80% of the population of Humboldt penguins live, along with dolphins, whales and birds, one of the richest ecosystems on the planet, Chilean lawmakers found.
Therefore, all political fractions concurred that Piñera might have “infringed the principle of probity, which is established in the eighth article (of the Constitution),” explained the socialist Jaime Naranjo.
The Government and the president himself have denied the link between his family and the sale of Dominga, arguing that by then, Piñera was unaware of the operations that were carried out under the blind trust in which his assets are housed.
The presidency maintained that the transaction was made in the British Virgin Islands to facilitate access to capital markets specialized in instruments issued by mining companies, such as the Toronto Stock Exchange.
Chile's Prosecutor's Office has also ordered a separate investigation into the affair.
More than eleven million confidential documents were revealed in the “Pandora papers,” which provided information on the fortunes of many influential people in the world.
For the impeachment to take effect, an absolute majority in the House of Deputies is required. As a result, Piñera would be removed or disqualified from holding public office.
The sale under investigation took place during Piñera's first presidential term.
”The facts mentioned in that report are not new, they were publicly known by the media in the year 2017 and they were also investigated in depth by the Public Ministry and resolved by the courts of justice,” Piñera has said.
Piñera is one of the three Latin American leaders in office whose names came out in the “Pandora papers.” The other two are Ecuador's Guillermo Lasso and Luis Abinader of the Dominican Republic.