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Chile's Pinera survives impeachment motion

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Chilean President Sebastian Pinera puts a facemask on after speaking at en event in Santiago, on October 14, 2021. (File photo by AFP)

Chile's President Sebastian Pinera has survived an impeachment motion over allegations of corruption resulting from purported revelations in the so-called Pandora Papers.

The senate voted on Tuesday against Pinera's impeachment over allegations of corruption in the sale of a mining company.

Twenty four senators voted in favor of impeachment, 18 voted against it, and one was absent. The impeachment motion needed at least two thirds of the votes to pass.

The impeachment move emerged after the so-called Pandora Papers leak -- a cache of documents that revealed offshore transactions involving prominent political and business figures from across the globe -- revealed that one of Pinera's sons used offshore companies in the British Virgin Islands for the sale of the Dominga mining project, which was co-owned by the family.

The billionaire president would have faced up to five years in jail if the motion had passed the senate; however, Pinera had said prior to the motion that the courts "will confirm there were no irregularities and also my total innocence."

"The defense has forcefully disproven each one of the facts that are presented as causes of this impeachment," said Senator Francisco Chahuan, from Pinera's center-right National Renewal party.

Chile's opposition had accused Pinera of foul actions.

"Acting as president, he benefited (himself) and his family in a direct way, with information that he had in the exercise of his office," opposition lawmaker Jaime Naranjo said before the impeachment proceedings.

In 2019, Chile's opposition had launched a first impeachment case against Pinera to remove him from office. That attempt, which targeted Pinera for his government's brutal crackdown on protests that year, failed, as well.


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