This year two news items have once again highlighted the fortune of the President of the Republic. In March of this year, Forbes magazine reported that Sebastián Piñera rose 55 position among the richest people in the world and during this week – the seventh since the social and political crisis broke out – it was known that the family officand of the President’s sons, “Inversiones Odisea”, presented a considerable increase in the shareholding of the Colombian Stock Exchange (BVC).
This information is in addition to what was revealed by The bewilderment, which maintains that at the beginning of 2015, the Piñera Morels began a silent reformulation of their business group and They transferred more than US $ 500 million (about 20% of their fortune) to their children’s companies in two destinations: British Virgin Islands (BVI) and Luxembourg, both considered tax havens according to the Internal Revenue Service.
Specifically, Bancard Inversiones Limitada – a company in which Sebastián Piñera Echenique controls 66% of the property – began to transfer resources from Chile to his children’s companies located in these tax havens. But -as described The bewilderment– It did not do so as established by the Income Tax Law (LIR), which is why -in May 2017- the Internal Revenue Service (SII) initiated an examination against it and detected irregularities in a financing operation to his children and not paying taxes for it for two years.
According to the electronic medium, which accessed financial information that accounts for the accounting of the Bancard Group for the years 2015 and 2016 -with tax effects for the years 2016 and 2017-, the SII investigation revealed that Piñera Echenique’s transfer of $ 68 billion in 2015 from Bancard Inversiones Limitada to Bancard International Investment, controlled by his sons in the British Virgin Islands, was irregular.
The SII realized that in this transfer from Piñera Echenique to his children, no remuneration rates were agreed, so the respective taxes were not paid. That is, in the operation, there was no payment of interest from the children to the father, so the respective tax could not be collected in two years: 2016 and 2017.
Since Piñera Echenique and his family members are defined by the Financial Analysis Unit (UAF) as Politically Exposed Persons (PEP), the final tax reliquidation sent to Bancard Inversiones Limitada cannot be accessed. This added to the fact that the SII did not provide more details about the operation.
However, a source revealed to the outlet that Bancard Inversiones Limitada, already with Piñera as President of Chile in office, paid, via internet, the reproached taxes of 2016 and 2017, which included an automatic cancellation of part of the fines and interest.
US $ 542 million that left Chile
With doubts about why the business group did not pay the taxes, how much it paid and why it chose to accept a forgiveness of fines and interest, a new precedent is added: there are other operations with similar characteristics, which Piñera Echenique’s company carried out with the of their children, and that it is not known exactly whether the SII audited them or not.
The bewilderment points out that of the $ 68 billion audited by the SII, Bancard Inversiones Limitada would have also transferred, through various financial operations with related companies in Chile and abroad, more than US $ 440 million to the British Virgin Islands and Luxembourg.
Total, It would be about US $ 542 million that left Chile for those tax havens. Among the destinations is Inversiones Odisea.
Piñera promised that if he was elected for a second term, he would create two trusts: one for his investments in Chile (mandatory) and another for those he owns abroad, on a voluntary basis. In addition, he said that his wife, Cecilia Morel, and their children would do the same. However, in the case of the latter, not for abroad.
“They are going to refrain from making investments that could mean any hint of conflict of interest,” said Piñera Echenique when he announced those trusts. Apparently, tax havens were not in that item.
On that occasion Piñera did not explain why his children would not do it abroad. But, having revealed the accounting data accessed by El Desconcierto, The fact that the Piñera Morels were left without a trust abroad seems to respond to the need to review the millionaire resources that Piñera began to transfer to them since 2015.
Deputy Gabriel Ascencio pointed out on Twitter that he would initiate inspection actions, starting with an official letter to the Internal Revenue Service to determine what taxes have been no longer received as a result of the businesses in havens of the Piñera clan and to the Financial Market Commission so that audit your business.
“We urge Piñera to make it transparent in which tax havens he keeps his money and to extend this demand to his children. It is clear that the interests of the president’s family businesses are, after all, the interests of the President himself,” he said.
With this, the Piñera clan – Ascencio maintains – “saves a large amount of taxes, which they do not pay in Chile. In the middle of the year I asked the President to pay 27 years of unpaid contributions for his house in Caburgua. He did not do it and maintains your tax avoidance behavior. “