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Chilean President Piera faces blame for leaking Pandora documents | Chile

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Opposition politicians have launched indictment charges against Chilean President Sebastian Piera for possible irregularities in the sale of a mining company after new details about the deal were leaked to Pandora newspapers.

Lawmakers cited an ethical duty to hold the president accountable for alleged irregularities in his involvement in the controversial Dominga project.

Earlier this month Chile’s public prosecutor said it would open an investigation into possible corruption allegations related to bribery and tax-related sales violations, which ended in the British Virgin Islands.

The move is the latest blow to center-right Piera as he approaches the end of a tumultuous four-year term. Presidential and legislative elections will be held in November, with polls suggesting left-wing candidates are likely to gain ground.

The Pandora Newspapers, the largest treasure trove of offshore leaked data in history, revealed new details of the controversial mining deal.

Quick guide

What are Pandora’s letters?

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Pandora newspapers are the largest group of leaked data exposing the secret of tax haven in history. They offer a rare window into the hidden world of offshore finance, shedding light on the financial secrets of some of the world’s richest people. The files were discovered at the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which shared access with the Guardian, the BBC and other media around the world. In total, the body consists of 11.9 million files leaked from a total of 14 offshore service providers, for a total of 2.94 terabytes of information. This makes it larger in volume than the Panama newspapers (2016) and the Paradise newspapers (2017), two previous offshore leaks.

Where did Pandora documents come from?

ICIJ, a nonprofit journalist based in Washington DC, is not identifying the source of the leaked documents. To facilitate a global investigation, the ICIJ provided remote access to journalists in 117 countries, including journalists at the Washington Post, Le Monde, El Pas, Sddeutsche Zeitung, PBS Frontline and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. In the UK, the investigation has been led by the Guardian and BBC Panorama.

What is an Offshore Service Provider?

14 offshore service providers provide corporate services to individuals or companies seeking to do offshore business. Their clients typically seek to discreetly establish companies or trusts in easily regulated tax havens, such as the British Virgin Islands (BVI), Panama, the Cook Islands, and the US state of South Dakota. Offshore registered companies can be used to hold assets such as property, aircraft, yachts and stocks and shares. By keeping those assets in an offshore company, it is possible to hide from the rest of the world the identity of the person to whom they actually belong, or the beneficial owner.

Why do people transfer money offshore?

Usually for reasons of tax, secrecy or regulation. Offshore jurisdictions tend not to have corporate income or taxes, which makes them potentially attractive to wealthy individuals and companies who do not want to pay taxes in their home countries. Although morally controversial, this type of tax evasion may be legal. Offshore jurisdictions also tend to be highly secretive and publish little or no information about the companies or trusts involved. This can make them useful to criminals, such as tax evaders or money launderers, who have to hide money from tax or law enforcement authorities. It is also true that people in corrupt or unstable countries can use offshore providers to put their assets beyond the reach of oppressive governments or criminal opponents who may try to seize them, or seek them out. bypass strong currency restrictions. Others may go offshore for inheritance or wealth planning reasons.

Have all those mentioned in the Pandora newspapers done something wrong?

Jo. Moving money at sea is not in itself illegal, and there are legitimate reasons why some people do it. Not everyone mentioned in the Pandora newspapers is suspected of wrongdoing. Those who can be accused of a wide range of misconduct: from morally dubious ones to potentially criminal ones. The Guardian is only publishing stories based on leaked documents as it has taken into account the public interest. This is a broad concept that can involve further transparency by revealing the secret offshore property owners in the UK, even when those owners have done nothing wrong. Other articles can shed light on important public debate issues, raise moral questions, shed light on how the offshore industry works, or help inform voters about politicians or donors in the interests of democratic accountability.

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The Pieras family sold their shares in the Dominga mine project in 2010 to his close friend and business partner, Carlos Alberto Dlano. The investigation of Pandora’s documents found evidence suggesting that the third installment of payment contained a clause urging the government not to strengthen environmental protection in the proposed area for the mine in northern Chile.

Jaime Naranjo, a left-wing lower house lawmaker and one of the instigators of the impeachment process, said Piera had openly violated the constitution by seriously compromising the nation’s honor.

Piera, whose fortune is estimated at $ 2.5 billion, according to Forbes magazine, has denied the allegations and argued that no irregularities were found in the deal.

Amid scrutiny of his business affairs, Piera on Monday announced a state of emergency in four provinces in the south of the country where tensions have risen between the Mapuche people, Chile’s largest indigenous group and police and powerful landowners. Riots have rocked the region since the 2018 killing by police of an unarmed Mapuche man and the ensuing hiding sparked angry protests across the country.

The new measures will restrict movement and the right of assembly after the recent arson attacks, and will further increase the military and police presence in the area. Local activists have questioned the timing and purpose of the move, announced on the anniversary of Christopher Columbuss’ arrival in America.

They say the state of emergency, which will last for 15 days but can be extended to 30, has been approved to cynically divert attention from investigations into the president.

Piera is still under pressure over the brutal crackdown on anti-inequality protests in 2019 and 2020. His former interior minister, Andrs Chadwick, was blamed by congress at the height of the protests in December 2019, and Piera himself narrowly avoided blaming in a similar vote a few days later.

In April, Baltasar Garzn, the Spanish judge who worked to hold dictator General Augusto Pinochet accountable for crimes committed during his 1973-1990 regime, indicted the International Criminal Court in The Hague, alleging Piera’s complicity in the crimes of alleged human rights during the riots. The president has denied any wrongdoing.

The latest motion to blame the president could be voted on in Congress ahead of the first round of Chile’s November 21 general election. If approved by the lower house, it goes to the senate, where it must be approved by a two-thirds majority if Piera is to step down.

Sources

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2/ https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/oct/13/chile-sebastian-pinera-impeachment-proceedings-pandora-papers

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