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Court verifies Fisheries Act voting due to alleged bribery and corruption

Senator Jaime Orpis and former diputada Marta Isasi. (Photo: Biblioteca del Congreso Nacional/CC BY 3.0 CL)

Wednesday, May 27, 2015, 23:40 (GMT + 9)
Fiscalía Oriente Court Prosecution will ex-officio request Parliament to provide the voting records related to the processing of the Fisheries Act, corresponding to the meetings held between 2010 and 2013. The purpose of this request is to determine whether there were irregular contributions to politicians made by the firm Corpesca as well as bribery and corruption cases.
In addition, prosecutors Carlos Gajardo and José Antonio Villalobos have already requested audio recordings of the meetings of the Fisheries committees of Congress.
Some of the investigated lawmakers are former deputy Marta Isasi and current senator Jaime Orpis, whose former collaborators and counselors were summoned to testify.
A few days ago, Corpesca former manager Francisco Mujica admitted that bills had been issued for not rendered services. He said the former deputy Carlos Recondo met with him to request funds for his campaign, without clarifying whether the money was granted or not.
"I do not remember if I requested the meeting, if I met me, I do not really remember," declared Mujica.
Sources consulted by indicated that there are suspicions that before the Senate approved the Fisheries Act, on 19 December, 2012, Corpesca, which belongs to Angelini Group, had paid CLP 200 million (USD 326,000) to Orpis between 2009 and 2013.
The new act established that the resources belong to all Chileans and in the case of industrial fishing, it set two types of license for a period of 20 years:
  • Class A, which considers the historic rights of companies, and is renewable;
  • Class B, which will be for tenders, and is non-renewable.
Isasi has been linked to contributions to the campaign through his former Cabinet chief, Esteban Zavala.
Regarding Orpis, three of his advisors, who are in Corpesca accounting department that has been seized by prosecutors, are involved in issuing bills for services that would not have been rendered.
Orpis’ advisers -- Lorena Lara, Carolina Gazitúa and Daniel Ortega -- also appear in the rectification of taxes that the firm conducted a few weeks ago before the Internal Revenue Service (SII).
Among the testimonies gathered is Mujica’s, who ensured Orpis requested money from him to cover debts that have been left over from his latest Senate campaign in 2009, La Tercera reported.
Deputy Hugo Gutiérrez announced that he will require a report to review the possibility of canceling the Fisheries Act.
"I’m going to ask the Library of Congress to prepare a report on the possibility of annulling a law to see if there is a legal possibility of rescinding a legislation that has been obtained illegally through corruption," the legislator pointed out.

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