Pinochet family charges dropped

A Chilean appeal court has dropped corruption charges brought against the family of the late former military ruler, Gen Augusto Pinochet. His widow and five children were accused of sending state funds illegally to foreign bank accounts.

Among the defence team’s arguments was that they could not be accused of misusing public funds as they were not state officials, Chilean media said.

The general died in December 2006 before he could stand trial.

The court also dropped charges against 10 of Gen Pinochet’s former associates and aides, the president of the court, Juan Eduardo Fuentes said.

Gen Pinochet’s family had been accused of transferring $27m (£13.2m) illegally to foreign bank accounts during the general’s rule between 1973 and 1990.

They were arrested on 4 October and then released on bail shortly afterwards.

In 2004 a US Senate investigation found hundreds of bank accounts in the name of Pinochet and his relatives at Riggs bank.

He was being investigated for tax evasion, fraud and embezzlement in relation to those funds.

His immunity from prosecution was removed in 2000, sparking years of legal wrangling to try to bring him to trial for alleged human rights abuses and tax fraud.

But the general had a fatal heart attack in December 2006 while under house arrest. He was 91.


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