Monday, February 23, 2015

Familiar Excuse: Chile’s President Says She Learned about Her Son’s Deals in the Press


SANTIAGO – Chilean President Michelle Bachelet said Monday that she learned in the press that her son was involved in a deal worth millions that is being investigated by the justice system.

“I had no knowledge of it, either before or after – I learned about it in Caburgua in the press,” Bachelet told reporters after returning to the presidency from a vacation in southern Chile at her residence on the banks of Lake Caburgua.

Sebastian Davalos, Bachelet’s son, was accused by rightist politicians of the suspected crimes of influence peddling and the use of privileged information, following a real estate venture executed by his wife, Natalia Campagnon.

The president’s son, who worked as the socio-cultural director of the presidency, resigned that unpaid position last Feb. 13.

Campagnon, who owns 50 percent of the Caval Limitada company, obtained on Dec. 16, 2013, the day after Bachelet’s victory in the presidential election, a loan from the Banco de Chile worth 6.5 billion pesos (some $10.4 million) for the acquisition of rural land in the municipality of Machali in the O’Higgins region south of Santiago.

The loan was granted at a meeting in the bank’s main office with the participation of Andronico Luksic, owner and vice president of the financial institution, Sebastian Davalos, who at the time was Caval’s operations manager, and his wife.

The stated purpose of the loan was to acquire rural land that was supposed to be re-zoned for urban use, and which afterwards was sold for a net profit of 3 billion pesos (some $4.8 million).

News about the deal, reported in a local weekly publication, unleashed a political scandal that has not yet died down.


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