Chile court orders seizure of $1.6 million from Pinochet
SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — Chile’s Supreme Court on Friday ordered the seizure of more than $1.6 million from the assets of the late dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet.
The top court also sentenced three former military officers to four years in prison for embezzlement of public funds in a case involving Pinochet, but allowed them to remain free under conditional liberty.
The court said the money cannot remain with Pinochet’s family because it comes from an illegal origin.
The dictator’s loyalists often overlooked his bloody human rights record and praised him for a supposedly austere, corruption-free government.
But he lost many of his closest allies after allegations of hidden wealth were revealed in 2004 by a U.S Senate committee investigating money laundering by the Riggs Bank of Washington.
Other accounts were later discovered in Europe and the Caribbean.
Pinochet and his family always said that his money came from savings, donations and investments. But an academic study ordered by Chile’s Supreme Court determined that the dictator accumulated $21 million before he died and that only $3 million of it was justified by his military salary.
Chile’s government estimates that 3,095 people were killed during Pinochet’s 1973-1990 dictatorship. Pinochet died under house arrest in 2006, without ever being tried on charges of human rights violations and illegal enrichment.