SANTIAGO, June 2 (Reuters) - A Chilean prosecutor is seeking jail sentences for seven former executives of retailer La Polar for their roles in a money laundering scheme as well as other financial crimes committed between 2006 and 2011.
Prosecutor Jose Morales said on Tuesday he is seeking up to a 12-year jail sentence for La Polar’s former chairman, Pablo Alcalde, and prison terms that range from 541 days to 10 years for another six former executives.
La Polar nearly went bankrupt, at one point losing about $1 billion of its market valuation, after admitting in mid-2011 that it refinanced loans to hundreds of thousands of clients with overdue bills, charging them higher interest rates without their permission and limiting bad loan provisions that would have hurt its bottom line.
The scandal, which left thousands of Chileans with bad credit scores and unable to get access to loans, triggered a criminal investigation, prompted the firing of many senior managers and shook investor confidence in Chile. All seven have been charged and await trial. (Reporting by Erik Lopez and Anthony Esposito; Writing by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)