Human Rights

Civil Court orders Pinochet family to return 17 million dollars

SANTIAGO – In the aftermath of the Riggs Case, the Civil Court in Santiago has ordered the Pinochet family to return US$ 17 million dollars, meant for the heirs of the dictator. Following the court ruling, the money was embezzled from public funds. “There is more than enough evidence to fully demonstrate that Augusto Pinochet was involved in the removal of public funds.”

Today, the Civil Court decided that the Pinochet family has to return US$ 17 million dollars. After the Civil Court in Santiago ordered to retain the assets, who were meant to pass on to his heirs, the president of the National State Defense (CDE), stated that that “There is more than enough evidence to fully demonstrate that Augusto Pinochet Ugarte was directly involved in the embezzlement of public funds.”

She added in the newspaper El Mercurio: “Although it has not been proven that they (the Pinochet family, red.) have participated in the unlawful acts, they are the recipients of an enormous economic benefit, the result of fully accredited criminal behavior.”

On August 24, the Supreme Court closed the Riggs Case, ordering the confiscation of just US$ 1.6 million dollars of the total amount defrauded by the military, of which its illicit origin was proven. However, the Court determined that Pinochet’s assets amounted to a total US$ 21.3 million dollars, of which US $ 17.8 million had been obtained illegally.

A large part of the money was to be returned to the widow of the ex-dictator Lucia Hiriart and her five children, including twenty properties and some vehicles. The Civil Court has now decided that US$ 17 million is to be returned to the Chilean State.

Riggs case closed – US$1.6 million will be seized from Pinochet family

The Riggs case

The Riggs Case refers to the Riggs Bank, an American bank that got investigated in the aftermath of the attack on the Twin Towers in the United States in 2001, in the framework of a broad investigation launched to find the origin of terrorism financers. Although the investigation was focused on Saudi money, investigators also found the accounts of the Pinochet family.

In 1994, the Riggs bank had allowed Pinochet to hide his fortune, of which large parts contained money stolen from Chilean public funds, in their accounts through illegal constructions. When Pinochet was arrested in 1998 and had most of his assets got frozen, he had still millions of US dollars stalled away. The Riggs bank pleaded guilty in 2005 and paid US$16 million dollars in fines, apart from a US$9 million dollars to the victims of Pinochet´s dictatorship.

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