Pandora Papers: Piñera denies conflict of interest

SANTIAGO – On Monday, Oct. 4, President Sebastián Piñera responded to accusations about information revealed in the Pandora Papers on Sunday. According to the president, he was not involved in the acquisition of the mine and had no knowledge of any details regarding the deal. Piñera also said the details published by the investigative platform were not new.

For the first time, President Sebastián Piñera made a public statement regarding the accusations in the Pandora Papers. According to these papers, leaked on Sunday and analyzed by Chilean platform CIPER, Piñera was involved in selling the Dominga mining project to childhood-friend Carlos Alberto Délano through a British Virgin Islands (BVI) entity, possibly to avoid taxes, while payment details in the contract also suggest political influence was involved, as one payment depended on the environmental status of the mining zone.

According to Piñera, however, there was “no conflict of interest” in the sale of the project. “Since April 2009  – more than 12 years ago – and before assuming my first presidency, I absolutely and totally disassociated myself from the administration and management of the family companies and any other company in which I had participated,” he said. The Pandora Papers back this statement, as the companies involved in the deal were in hands of his sons on one side and Délano on the other.

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Pandora Papers: offshore activities Piñera come to light

The president also said he was neither involved nor informed about the sale of the mine. “I was neither consulted nor informed about the decision of the management of these companies to sell the project,” he said. Whether Piñera was or was not aware of a multimillion-dollar sale of a mine he was previously involved in, while the deal was made between his sons and one of his best friends, remains to be investigated.

In his statement, Piñera also pointed out that the deal was previously investigated by the Public Prosecutor’s Office. “At the end of that investigation, the Public Prosecutor’s Office recommended ending the case, because the sale was flatly in accordance with the law, due to the nonexistence of any crime,” Piñera said. Opposition members, who have called for a possible constitutional accusation against Piñera, have “absolutely no argument,” the president said.

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