Chilean President Sebastián Piñera said on Friday that he did not like a new investigation into the irregularities of a mining project owned by his family and located in an area of great environmental wealth.
The prosecutor’s office’s decision to open an investigation follows new revelations about the Dominga mine in the Pandora Papers leak that uncovered how the rich and powerful have been hiding their investments and assets.
The president’s comments came as dozens of protesters gathered in front of the presidential residence, calling for the protection of native marine species and the environment near the mining area.
They carried posters and an effigy representing Piñera, who they said should be imprisoned.
The leaked documents revealed that Piñera, one of Chile’s wealthiest men, used offshore companies in the British Virgin Islands for deals related to the Dominga mining project, which his family was partly co-owned with a friend.
According to the report, the sale of the project in 2011 was conditional on not causing environmental damage.
The government, at the time headed by Piñera, refused to name its location as a protected nature reserve.
The criminal investigation will continue for the charges of alleged bribery and tax crimes derived from the sale of the mining project.
Piñera said that he had never participated in the management of the Dominga mining project and did not “share” the decision of the Prosecutor’s Office because it was already known and a previous investigation was closed.
Ignacia Henríquez, a spokeswoman for the student federation, said that the protesters were against using the environment as a “bargaining chip” for companies that benefit Piñera and those close to him.