Monday, November 29, 1999

Chilean President Pinera sells TV station

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Chile's billionaire president, Sebastian Pinera, has agreed to sell his Chilevision television station to a local group, his investment company said on Saturday, in a deal worth an estimated $130 million.Conservative Pinera, who ended 20 years of center-left rule when he took office in March, had been accused by the opposition of having conflicts of interests and was under pressure to sell the television station, one of the biggest and most profitable in the Andean nation.Pinera's Bancard Inversiones Ltda said he had sold the broadcaster to the Linzor Capital investment fund.Bancard said in a statement the sale would go through within 60 days, and that Pinera would pay more than $24 million in taxes on the sale.Pinera came under political fire for delaying the sale of tranches of his $1.5 billion stake in flagship airline LAN after a massive Feb. 27 quake ravaged south-central Chile. He later sold his stake to defuse growing criticism over conflicts of interest.Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi is widely criticized over conflicts of interest for owning Italy's No. 1 commercial broadcaster Mediaset.(Writing by by Alonso Soto; Editing by Simon Gardner and Sandra Maler)
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