Chile’s troubled billionaire president faces another challenge a few months after his term expires: a criminal investigation into the sale more than a decade ago, which was part of his family’s mining project.
The national prosecutor announced this Friday. Sebastian Paneira will be investigated for alleged bribery or tax crimes. Following a major leak of legal documents known as Pandora Papers. The British Virgin Islands will unveil an agreement signed in 2010 to sell shares in the Dominga iron ore project.
The document includes a clause stating that pending payments will depend on the project’s surroundings with no zoning changes, such as joining a nature reserve. The project is close to an island home to a rare species of penguin, as well as a population of whales, so environmentalists have been lobbying for years to make it a safer area.
Earlier this week, Piñera said that in 2009 he transferred the management of his investment to a blind trust.Before his first term as President from 2010 to 2014.
“The agreement reached in the British Virgin Islands was not included in the investigation at the time, so we can say that this is a new example,” said Marta Herrera, director of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Unit.
Earlier Friday, a Santiago court said it would file a separate criminal case against Penera.
Pianira’s approval rating plummeted as her center-right government opened fire on one of the largest protest movements since the country’s return to democracy. Coalition candidate Sebastian Seychelles has also lost popularity in recent weeks.