SANTIAGO – The National Prosecutors Office said that it would be opening a criminal investigation against Sebastián Piñera. The announcement comes after revelations of Mr. Piñera’s link to the sale of Dominga Minera came to light. The mine was sold to family friend Carlos Délano.
On Friday, Oct. 8, the National Prosecutors Office announced that it was initiating a criminal investigation of President Sebastián Piñera. The announcement follows the recommendations of the Anticorruption Unit of the National Prosecutor (UNAC), which declared that the 2017 investigation by the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court had not been privy to the details of the contracts signed at the time.
UNAC has chosen the Regional Prosecutor of Valparaíso, Claudia Perivanich, to lead the investigation. The decision for a Regional Prosecutor to take charge of a criminal investigation of this level is authorized by the current constitution.
The sale of the mine took place nine months into Piñera’s first presidential term in 2010, and his lawyers and financial advisors have said he was not aware of it at the time – a point since reiterated on several occasions by his associates. It is possible that the president did not know about the sale because the mine had by that point become an asset of his children.
The Pandora Papers revealed that the third installment payment for the purchase came with the condition that the project does not become an environmental protection zone. Both the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal cleared the President of any wrongdoing in 2017.
Some members of Piñera’s Chile Vamos Alliance have also come forward to express their stance on the matter. Following a meeting with Piñera at La Moneda on Saturday, Oct. 9, Independent Democratic Union (UDI) president Javier Macaya said that “these situations were known in 2017.” Referring to the pending criminal investigation Macaya said “democracies work when the rule of law works.”
Contrastingly certain of the legality of the deal, Francisco Chuhuán, head of National Renewal (RN) said he had “no doubt” that the matter would be resolved attesting to “the innocence of the President.”
On Monday, Sebastian Sichel, the presidential candidate leading Chile Vamos, called for the president to “give all the necessary explanations” regarding the revelations by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in the Panama Papers. Sichel subsequently emphasized that it should not be permissible for a head of state to have interests “outside of public policy.”
Emmanuela is an International Relations and Modern Languages student from the Univeristy of East Anglia. Human Rights is of key interest to her as are culture, politics and sports.