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Chilean legislators vote to impeach president over mine sale

Chile’s lower house of parliament has voted to impeach President Sebastian Pinera, following the publication of the Pandora Papers ​about a possible conflict of interests of Pinera. The case concerns the sale of shares of the Chilean mining company Minera Doming to president’s close friend Carlos Delano through an offshore.

Reuters agency reports.

After 22 hours of debate, 78 votes were cast for impeachment. 67 votes were against and three abstentions. Now the vote will take place in the Senate.

During the debate, an opposition party deputy spoke for about 15 hours, trying to extend the vote. That allowed time for another legislator to finish mandatory quarantine and arrive to cast his vote.

The Pandora Papers discloses the 2010 sale of the Dominga mine, a massive copper and iron project in Chile. At the time, Sebastian Pinera was in the first year of his first presidential term.

Pinera’s family, which owned 1/3 of the shares of Minera Dominga, sold their share for $ 152 million to Carlos Delano. Part of the deal was carried out through an offshore company in the British Virgin Islands.

The payment was split into three parts. At the same time, Pinera’s family received the last part of the payment after the Chilean government refused to recognize the mine’s lands as reserves.

Pinera, who will end his term as president next March, denied the charges. He also noted that in 2017, the prosecutor’s office had already investigated this case and did not reveal any violations by the head of state.

Earlier, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has published a report in the Pandora Papers on alleged involvement of world leaders in offshore schemes. Some 35 current and former leaders and more than 300 public officials are featured in the files.