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Archive for Saturday, August 19, 2006

Court strips Pinochet’s corruption immunity

August 19, 2006

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— Chile's Supreme Court voted Friday to strip Gen. Augusto Pinochet of immunity from prosecution, an official said, allowing him to be tried on corruption charges for his once-secret multimillion-dollar overseas bank accounts.

Judge Carlos Cerda said he found evidence that the 90-year-old former ruler used $2 million in government funds to benefit himself and his family during his 1973-1990 dictatorship.

The decision adds to Pinochet's legal problems. He also has had his immunity lifted in cases against him for alleged human rights abuses and tax evasion. Under Chilean law, immunity must be lifted separately for each indictment.

The judge was appointed to investigate the source of Pinochet's bank accounts in the United States and other countries, estimated at $28 million.

Scores of other legal actions have been filed against Pinochet by relatives of his regime's victims. During his rule 3,197 people were killed for political reasons, according to an independent commission report.

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