Translated from Chile media, source El Ciudadano:
New check to Barrick Gold: Chilean court opens trial legality of Pascua Lama Protocol
Total and absolute rejection had the appeal filed by the State Defense Council, acting on behalf of the Government of Chile by the Ninth Division of the Court of Appeals of Santiago, in cars Docket No. C-17.273- 2012, entitled "Lopehandia Cortés, Jorge Rodrigo Fisco" 23 ° filed before the Civil Court of Santiago and that relate to the legal nullity would Pascua-Lama Protocol. The decision of the Judges, open a case that could lead to even declare former presidents.
Note that in the first instance the State Defense Council had refused to discuss the existence of fraud in the signing of the Protocol Pascua-Lama. Treaty between Chile and Argentina that created a virtual country over the Andes to the exploitation of its natural resources.
However since the protocol was published in the Official Gazette of Chile and he became aware of the country's highest authorities, whichever is discussed and researched has become a fact.
Retrieved lawyer Juan Guillermo Torres that said "Tuesday June 25, 2013, were made the allegations of the parties, the Chilean Government through its lawyer and representing their interests, who talks, in which this part founded the rejection of the appeal and thus requires confirmation of the judgment of first instance, by means of separate legal defenses both form and substance, a resource that was eventually rejected by the Ninth Division of the Court of Appeals of Santiago, which is an absolute triumph for this cause. "
"Nuevo jaque a Barrick Gold: Corte chilena abre juicio por legalidad de Protocolo Pascua Lama
Total y absoluto rechazo tuvo el recurso de apelación interpuesto por el Consejo de Defensa del Estado, actuando en representación del Fisco de Chile por parte de la Novena Sala de la Ilustrísima Corte de Apelaciones de Santiago, en los autos Rol N° C- 17.273-2012, caratulados “Lopehandía Cortés, Jorge Rodrigo con Fisco”, tramitados ante el 23° Juzgado Civil de Santiago y que guardan relación con la nulidad legal que tendría el Protocolo Pascua-Lama. El fallo de los Jueces, abre un caso que podría llevar a declarar incluso a ex presidentes de la República.
Cabe señalar que en primera instancia el Consejo de Defensa del Estado se habría negado a discutir sobre la existencia de fraude en la firma del Protocolo Pascua-Lama. Tratado entre Chile y Argentina que creó un país virtual sobre la cordillera de los Andes para la explotación de sus recursos naturales.
No obstante dado que dicho protocolo fue publicado en el Diario Oficial de Chile y de él tomaron conocimiento las altas autoridades del país, el que sea discutido e investigado se ha convertido en un hecho.
Consultado el abogado Juan Guillermo Torres este señaló ” el martes 25 de junio de 2013, se efectuaron los alegatos de las partes, Fisco de Chile por medio de su abogada y en representación de sus intereses, quien le habla, en la cual esta parte fundó el rechazo de dicho recurso y con ello requiere la confirmación del fallo de primera instancia, por medio de sendas defensas jurídicas tanto de forma y de fondo,recurso que finalmente fue rechazado por la Novena Sala de la Ilustrísima Corte de Apelaciones de Santiago, lo cual es un triunfo absoluto para esta causa”."
On June 21, 2006, a Chilean court returned two of Barrick Gold's Pascua Lama mining leases to prospector Rodolfo Villar, who had agreed to sell them to Barrick but had been paid only 10,000 pesos ($20 CDN). The ruling could have serious consequences since the leases are listed as Barrick's property in a 2004 Protocol to the Chile-Argentina "Treaty of Mining Integration" which could be invalidated as a result. This analysis by Lucio Cuenca, National Coordinator of the Latin American Observatory of Environmental Conflicts (OLCA) was first published in El Mostrador on June 26, 2006
Pascua Lama exists as a binational mining project because in the year 1997 the governments of Argentina and Chile signed a "Treaty of Mining Integration" whose ambit of application is the border region along the Andes and which constitutes the legal framework governing the development of the mining business. Before this treaty, it was not possible to mine deposits located in this mountainous region because they were in "borderized zones" in the case of Chile, and in Argentina, "border zones" and/or "security zones", spaces which in both countries were subject to restrictive laws.
The transnational mining companies, Barrick Gold in particular, pursuaded the governments of both countries that it would be beneficial to create a legal instrument to facilitate the mining business in the border regions.
The recent ruling of the 14th Civil Court of Santiago (case #1912-2001), which overturned the sale of mining claims carried out in March of 1997 in which Rodolfo Villar García ceded to mining company Minera Nevada -- subsidiary of Barrick Gold in Chile -- the rights to properties where the project Pascua Lama is being constructed, brings the thorny problems of this complex conflict to a forefront. The judge completely nullified the contract of sale between Villar and Barrick Gold and ordered the return of the rights of ownership which existed previously in the Amarillo Norte and Tesoro properties (Pascua Lama being located in this last property), returning them to their previous state when the prospector Rodolfo Villar was the owner of these mining rights.
But what certainly could constitute a bigger obstacle for Pascua Lama are the implications of the ruling regarding some of the legal points generated by the Mining Treaty with Argentina to concretely facilitate the development of the binational project. The Mining Treaty establishes that under petition from investors to establish operations along the border, the parties must sign Additional Specific Protocols, where the "area of operations" and the procedures will be determined for each project.
In the case of Pascua Lama, this protocol was signed and set into law by the Decree of the Ministry of Mining on December 11 of 2004. In this protocol -- among other things -- the "area of operations" is detailed, its limits set, and Nevada Mining Company Ltd.'s 193 mining claims "already constituted" and the 8 "in process" are identified. In this list figure "Amarillos" at 3,600 hectares and "Tesoros" at 2,100 hectares. These mining claims are those the recent ruling returned to Rodolfo Villar, and one could conclude thus that the decree contains serious flaws and should be itself nullified.
It is painfully obvious that the Chilean government has enacted this Decree containing these defects. One might think that the government didn't know. But this case has a long history which the authorities could not ignore. For example, in this case a precautionary order was decreed over the disputed claims which "prohibits the signing of acts and contracts and/or encumbrences and/or transferrals over each of the aforementioned mining properties." Therefore, it was sufficient to request a certificate of ownership valid in the mining district of Vallenar. Our authorities, when they want to make things easier for the "big investors", let themselves be easily carried off and act above the law.
Focusing on the principle of invalidation, Article 53 and subsequent articles of the Administrative Procedures (Law 19.880) which regulate the acts of the authorities that dictated the Decree, states that this same should be nullified administratively on account of a serious flaw. This could be the moment to start to rectify a series of other irregularities and illegalities which have been denounced, but which the governments in power, ceding to the pressure of the transnational mining company, have systematically ignored.
Barrick is legally in a huge bind at Pascua Lama, title and securities fraud is serious. Sure looks like Barrick has been lying and bribing their way with Pascua Lama all these years.
Sentiment: Strong Sell
Hummmm....ABX is a fraud at Pascua Lama according to expert reports that say ABX doesn't own titles to the deposit of Pascua Lama. The government of Chile has been sued by Mr Lopehandia, interesting how the Chile government will back track on Barricks fraud issues in Chile court, what about Canada. LOL
Prime Ministers Office chief lobbied by Barrick
The prime minister's right-hand man was lobbied by the world's largest gold producer on three separate occasions despite his personal ties to the company.
According to a report filed with the federal lobbying commissioner by Barrick Gold Corp. on Aug. 27, Nigel Wright, the prime minister's chief of staff, was lobbied by the company a third time on May 29.
Barrick lobbied Wright for the first time on May 14 and a second time on May 25. Those two conversations were reported on July 30.
Under lobbying rules, the report on all three meetings should have been submitted to the federal lobbying commissioner by June 15.
On Tuesday, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird told CBC News that Wright was not in a conflict of interest and did not use his position to further the financial interests of his friends.
Baird said Wright "has no personal or financial interest in Barrick Gold Corp." and that while a number of people were on the call with Barrick, Baird said "it was a one-way call where they called and raised an issue, and it was dealt with by someone else in the office."
The minister said Wright "didn't take part in any decisions on this issue."
However, Baird did not explain why Wright was on a second call with Barrick, nor did he mention that Wright was involved in a third call.
Baird was also lobbied directly on the matter by Barrick on May 16.
Wright has known Barrick founder and board chairman Peter Munk for years and is particularly close to his son, Anthony, who sits on Barrick's board of directors. Wright also worked with Anthony Munk for years at Onex Corp., the private equity investment firm from which Wright has taken a leave of absence to work for Harper.
Ethics watchdog following-up with Wright
A spokesperson for Mary Dawson, the federal ethics commissioner, told CBC News on Tuesday that she is following up with Wright after the disclosure that he was lobbied twice by Barrick.
While Dawson can initiate an investigation, her office confirmed that no official complaint had been filed to date for her to do so.
The first report filed by Barrick does not identify who contacted Wright on May 14 to discuss international relations and international trade.
The second report indicates that Barrick talked to Wright again on the same subject matter — this time along with Harper's foreign policy adviser, Andrea van Vugt, and his principal secretary, Ray Novak, who is Harper's point man on government-to-government relations.
Barrick's contact with Wright came shortly after Harper blocked a resolution on Argentina's claim to the Falkland Islands during the Summit of the Americas in Colombia in mid-April.
Barrick operates a mine in Argentina and is developing another controversial open pit gold and silver mine that straddles the border between Chile and Argentina.
Conflict of Interest Act
A person doesn't necessarily need to be involved in actual decision-making to wind up in a conflict of interest.
Under the Conflict of Interest Act, a public office holder is supposed to recuse himself or herself from "any discussion, decision, debate or vote on any matter" which could result in a conflict.
The act describes conflict of interest as the exercise of "an official power, duty or function that provides (the public office holder) an opportunity to further his or her private interests or those of his or her relatives or friends or to improperly further another person's private interests."
On the advice of the federal ethics watchdog, Wright set up a "conflict of interest screen" when he joined the Prime Minister's Office.
The screen is meant to ensure that Wright abstains from any participation in matters relating to Onex, its subsidiaries and affiliates or even involving general policy matters, such as tax treatment of the private equity industry, that could affect Onex.