Santiago (AFP) -
Chile's Senate declined Tuesday to impeach President Sebastian Pinera over a business deal revealed in the Pandora Papers leaks, refusing to go along with the lower chamber of congress in opening proceedings against him.
The vote was 24 in favor of impeachment, 18 against and one abstention. Those voting to charge the billionaire president with corruption needed at least 29 votes.
This means the case is closed, with no punishment of Pinera over the controversial sale of a mining company in 2010 when he was serving the first of two non-consecutive terms.
The Pandora Papers highlighted offshore transactions involving major political figures around the world.
They linked Pinera to the sale of a mining company called Dominga, through a company owned by his children, to businessman Carlos Delano, a close friend of the president, for $152 million.
The papers said a large part of the operation was carried out in the British Virgin Islands, a tax haven.
Chile's opposition has said Pinera benefitted himself and his family with the sale through information he had in the exercise of his office.
It says Pinera's involvement pushed up the sale price.
The Chamber of Deputies voted last week to open impeachment proceedings.
Pinera, one of the richest men in Chile, has denied any wrongdoing and said he was cleared in a 2017 investigation of the transaction.
It is the second impeachment case brought against Pinera, after an unsuccessful attempt to remove him from office in 2019 over an at-times brutal crackdown on protesters angry over the yawning gap between rich and poor in Chile.