Chile court ends 10-year Pinochet embezzlement probe; others face trial

SANTIAGO, (Reuters) – A Chilean court said yesterday it has completed a decade-long investigation into the origin of late dictator Augusto Pinochet’s fortune and the general’s suspected embezzlement of public funds.

An appeals court in Santiago decided unanimously to close the investigation, clearing the way for lead Judge Manuel Valderrama to formally accuse former military members who had collaborated with Pinochet in the so-called Riggs Bank case.

In August of last year, a court decided not to charge any of Pinochet’s family members in the case, but did charge three retired generals and three retired colonels for the suspected embezzlement of public funds.

They include Generals Jorge Ballerino, Ramon Castro and Sergio Moreno, and Colonels Eugenio Castillo, Gabriel Vergara and Juan MacLean.

Pinochet was charged in 2005 with tax evasion in connection with the millions of dollars held in foreign bank accounts, which came to light after a U.S. Senate investigation into banking irregularities at the now-defunct Washington-based Riggs Bank.

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