Chile’s opposition moves to oust president over Pandora Papers revelations

Oppositional lawmakers in Chile are moving to oust President Sebastian Pinera after the Pandora Papers revealed his involvement in an ethically dubious offshore business deal.

The Chilean president had been “compromising the Nation’s honor and infringing the constitution and the country’s laws,” 17 lawmakers alleged on Wednesday, according to Bloomberg.

The move from opposition lawmakers comes amid popular protests against Pinera’s government that have surged after the president showed up in the massive leak of financial documents.

Among the findings in the Pandora Papers — a wide-ranging investigation that touched many of the world’s wealthy and powerful — was that during Pinera’s first presidential term, his family sold their stake of their Dominga mine project, in a deal that may have included a clause that environmental protections could not be strengthened in the area, The Guardian reported.

The stake was sold in 2010 to Carlos Alberto Délano, who had been a business partner and friend to the president, in a transaction conducted in the British Virgin Islands.

A spokesperson for the government said the lawmakers were trying to use the findings to affect the results of the upcoming presidential election, which is set to take place in five weeks. Pinera cannot run again because of consecutive term limits. Polls indicate that the ruling coalition’s candidate is running third in polls, according to Bloomberg.

“This is a baseless accusation,” Jaime Bellolio, a spokesperson for the government said, according to Bloomberg. “It only seeks to weigh on the elections”.

Pinera has also said that he was not charged with any wrongdoing in a previous investigation in 2017 over the matter.

Still, the public prosecutor’s office said earlier this month that it will be investigating whether there were any tax violations or instances of bribery associated with the sale.

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