Wednesday, March 16, 2005

AUGUSTO PINOCHET


Pinochet 'stowed $13m in banks'.

The general's financial dealings are coming under further scrutiny. The former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet stowed away more than $13m (£6.8m) in 125 bank accounts, according to a US Senate investigation. It found a range of top banks helped Gen Pinochet hide his funds or broke regulations over his accounts. Bank officials say the accounts were opened under false names and have vowed to co-operate with investigators. Gen Pinochet's military regime killed and tortured thousands of political prisoners in the 1970s and 1980s. He is also being investigated in Chile over allegations of human rights abuses and embezzlement of state funds.
The senate investigation revealed Gen Pinochet and his family members used scores of bank accounts to hide and launder funds over the course of at least 25 years. It found some of the banks allowed the general to use assumed names on accounts, arranged international wire transfers and set up offshore companies. Among the institutions named in the report are Bank of America, Coutts, Riggs Bank and the world's largest financial services group, Citigroup. "Some banks actively helped him hide his funds, others failed to comply with US regulations requiring banks to know their customers," Democrat Senator Carl Levin said.
All of the accounts have since been closed.

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