Atacama Kozan, a Chilean-Japanese mining company that operates its namesake copper mine in the Copiapó province in northern Chile, filed a legal complaint denouncing being the victim of fraudulent transactions carried out by Chilean senator Rafael Prohens.
According to court documents obtained by local Radio Bío Bío, in the $2.7-million legal complaint, Prohens is accused of taking part in a scheme that asked the company for excessive amounts of money to provide water to its operations. However, the resource was not properly supplied.
Instead, the company says that the money was used to finance the senator’s 2017 political campaign, which helped him land his current post as a legislator in the Upper Chamber for the Atacama region.
The complaint describes that it all started in 2014 when Atacama Kozan signed a contract with a farm called Agrícola Doña Berta which was represented by Prohens and which was supposed to be in charge of supplying water to the mine at a price of $1.17+tax per cubic metre. A measuring device was to be installed at the intake so that it was clear how much water was being sold, but the mechanism was never set up. Yet, the miner continued to make payments to the farm.
The court document states that since there wasn’t a clear measure of how much water was being provided, there isn’t a straight record of where the payments ended up. This includes an advance payment requested by Doña Berta for $500,000.
Besides Senator Prohens, Bío Bío reports that Atacama Kozan has presented legal actions against two former employees, one that was in charge of signing the initial water contract, and another one who was in charge of supervising that water was being supplied in accordance to the law, fair prices and what was agreed upon, something he is accused of failing to do.
Written by Valentina Ruiz Leotaud.
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