Spain judge orders Pinochet associates to post bond in money laundering inquiry

[JURIST] Spanish National Court Judge Baltasar Garzon [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] on Monday opened an embezzlement investigation against four associates of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet [BBC profile, JURIST news archive]. Garzon accused Pinochet's widow Lucia Hiriart his former lawyer Oscar Custodio Aitken Lavanchy and bankers Pablo Granifo Lavin and Hernan Donoso Lira of laundering money for Pinochet while he was in power. Garzon has given the defendants 10 days to post a $77 million bond. If not paid, the amount of the bond and an additional $25 million in assets will be frozen. Garzon intends to use the money to compensate the Spanish victims [El Pais report, in Spanish] of Pinochet's dictatorship.

In September, a Chilean judge disclosed a report [JURIST report] on the extent and sources of Pinochet’s secret fortune, amounting to $25,978,602 in accounts held outside of Chile, of which $20,199,753 is suspected to have been embezzled from official funds. Pinochet's youngest son, former secretary, and estate executor have previously been indicted [JURIST report] for maliciously making false or incomplete tax declarations. In October 2007, 23 family members and former associates, including Hiriart, Pinochet's five children, former secretary, and three retired army generals, were indicted [JURIST report] on corruption charges for aiding Pinochet in the "misuse of fiscal funds" during his regime. The following month, the Supreme Court of Chile upheld an appeals court decision to drop the charges [JURIST reports] because the accused were not government employees at the time and thus could not be charged with embezzling government funds.



 

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