SANTIAGO Dec 19 Chilean billionaire Andronico
Luksic testified on the first day of a colorful, at times
explicit slander trial on Monday, seeking damages from a
congressman who called him a "son of a bitch" and "the king of
criminals" earlier this year.
Independent congressman Gaspar Rivas and Luksic, a member of
Chile's richest family who has stakes in several industries and
chairs industrial conglomerate Quinenco, have been
publicly at odds for the better part of 2016.
Rivas first insulted Luksic during a session of Congress in
April, captivating local media in normally reserved Chile. Amid
other accusations, Rivas said Luksic had the "luxury of flooding
Santiago" after Chile's Mapocho River overflowed its banks,
inundating the city.
Rivas did not explain Luksic's connection to the flooding.
But the Mapocho flows into the Maipo River, where Luksic has a
stake in a future dam project. Environmental and community
activists fear the dam will dry up the water supply of
traditional mountain valley towns east of Santiago.
In a follow-up interview with a local weekly paper, Rivas,
who says public opinion must be the judge and has refused to
apologize to Luksic, listed some additional, sexually charged
Chilean slang words he could have applied to the billionaire.
During the televised trial in Santiago, Luksic listed Rivas'
insults, at times pausing uncomfortably before repeating some of
his more licentious statements.
"I'm tremendously hurt, surprised ... that we're falling
into this kind of thing with a representative of the Republic,"
As Luksic attempted to exit the courthouse he was surrounded
by Chileans protesting the Alto Maipo dam project. Some spat at
the business leader and called him a "son of a bitch," mimicking
(Reporting by Gram Slattery; Editing by Tom Brown)