Chile President Sebastián Piñera defended this Monday that the sale of Minera Dominga was not “advised or informed” after the Pandora Papers publication indicated that he had used a tax haven for the transaction prior to his first term in office “Information that, he pointed out,” is “not new”.
“I have not been consulted or informed,” said the president at a La Moneda press conference, in which he stressed that the facts revealed by the publication “are not new”. “They were publicly known in 2017 and were thoroughly investigated by the State Department and ruled by the courts in 2017,” he said.
After the turmoil sparked in the country by the President’s involvement in the journalistic investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which uncovered possible tax violations by various world leaders, Piñera has insisted that neither he nor his family have an investment company abroad, reports ‘La Tercera’.
“Since April 2009, more than 12 years ago, before my first presidency, I completely detached myself from the administration and management of family businesses and all other companies in which I was involved. In addition and voluntarily, because when there was no law that required it, I created blind trusts to manage all financial assets, “he explained.
From then on he continued to have “no knowledge of the investment decisions of the companies”, all with the intention of submitting a presidential candidacy “with complete and absolute independence in order to be able to exercise the office of president with only one” goal: the common good, interests of all Chileans, always respecting the constitution and the law. “
According to published information, Piñera took part in his first term in 2010 in the sale of Minera Dominga to his personal friend Carlos Alberto Délano via a tax haven in the British Virgin Islands.
The investigation confirms that Piñera transferred shares in Minera Dominga for $ 152 million in three payments, the last of which came from the government’s decision to designate the land in which the mineral is located as a nature reserve, which the government said The environmental agency was rejected in 2011.
They had already denied by a statement from La Moneda that the president was involved in the sale of Minera Dominga, although from the opposition, and demanded from Piñera a “strong explanation” about the transaction of this company and asked him to hold a press round to answer questions from the press.
Research by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) conducted in Chile by journalistic portals Ciper and LaBot found that Piñera and his family were the largest shareholders in the Minera Dominga project with 33 percent of their shares, which is added together Those of Délano controlled 56 percent of the initiative that wants to settle near the Pingüino de Humboldt National Park in the municipality of La Higuera in the Coquimbo region.
In December 2010, Délano bought a stake in all of Dominga’s partners for $ 152 million. According to the journalistic investigation, the operation was carried out with one document signed in Chile for $ 14 million and another in the British Virgin Islands for $ 138 million.
Payment would be made in three installments. The first was due on December 10 this year for $ 106.8 million, the second was due on January 18, $ 21 million, and the third and final installment of $ 9.9 million was due on December 31, 2011.
“This final payout, however, was conditional: it was contingent on not changing the rules in the area where the mining project would be located,” the investigation said. “The payment was tied to the condition that the sector did not become a restricted zone or turn into a national park or a nature reserve,” which would hinder the development of the Dominga project, the study shows.