In the midst of the process to determine a new National Prosecutor, after the failure of the nomination of Marta Herrera, the option of the current surrogate national prosecutor, Juan Agustín Meléndez – who is part of the Quina that the Supreme Court sent to the Government of President Boric – still valid. When asked by the president of the Constitution, Legislation and Justice Commission, Matías Walker, about why the government has not taken him into consideration given that he is a prosecutor with more than 21 years of experience investigating crimes, the senator Karim Bianchi attacked the Magallanes regional prosecutor.
The independent parliamentarian assured that ““I am concerned that today we have that prosecutor in charge of the National Prosecutor’s Office. I think he is not the person. If we explore a new National Prosecutor, it should not be Meléndez”.
Bianchi’s negative comments against prosecutor Meléndez, however, do not seem to be random, since between them water has flowed under the bridge. Strictly speaking, Meléndez has a history with the father of the current senator: Deputy Carlos Bianchi, whom he investigated for fraud against the Treasury.
The story began in 2015, when the Magallanes regional prosecutor requested a “hearing to formalize charges for the crimes of incompatible negotiation and tax fraud with respect to the honorable senator Carlos Bianchi and his sister-in-law, Mrs. Victoria Retamales”. In the case of the legislator, he was facing charges of fraud against the Treasury and incompatible negotiation, for which the Public Ministry requested a sentence of four years and one day in prison for the crime of incompatible negotiation and another five for fraud against the Treasury, in addition to 10 years of disqualification for public office.
To face these charges, the Public Ministry requested the removal of the then Senator Bianchi from the Punta Arenas Court of Appeals, which approved the removal of the law. Bianchi’s defense appealed to the Supreme Court, which ratified the decision adopted by the appellate court. Although that same year he was acquitted in December of that year by the Punta Arenas Guarantee Court.
Due to the above, the current senator Karim Bianchi does not have good memories of the persecutor, for which he assured that “she is not a suitable prosecutor. He does not provide guarantees or competence. I had to meet him in his performance in Magallanes “.
In March 2006, the then Senator Bianchi, due to his position, signed a lease for a property in Punta Arenas, for an amount of $850,000 pesos per month, adjustable according to the IPC, to use it as parliamentary headquarters, with his mother-in-law appearing as the lessor. .
This contract allowed the Senate to issue monthly checks for rent payments, between April 2006 and September 2009, directly to the senator, who must pay the landlord, who died in January 2009, despite which, between February and September, the payment continued to be made.
Subsequently, in October 2009, Bianchi presented a contract annex, indicating that after the death of his mother-in-law, his sister-in-law, Victoria Retamales, would assume the collection, which allowed the payments to continue extending until November 2010.
The total amount paid by the Senate for rent was more than 52 million pesos, varying the rent from $850 thousand to more than one million pesos in 2010, for an office of approximately 39 m2, of regular quality and with values well above those registered in the sector, defrauding the treasury of $45 million.
“The incompatible negotiation is configured in the context of entering into a contract for a property that was owned by relatives -his spouse, his mother-in-law and his two brothers-in-law-, while the tax fraud for estimating that there is an overprice in the value of income and because there are transfers of money paid by the Senate, but it is not proven that they came from the defendant’s checking accounts, causing tax damage,” prosecutor Meléndez explained in 2015.
Bianchi was finally acquitted in December of that year by the Punta Arenas Guarantee Court.