“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Catching The Embezzlers

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Dictatorships and corruption go hand-in-hand, the elites invariably skim off millions and billions from government contracts, kickbacks or simply expropriate national budgets.

Thus it should come as no surprise that the Pinochet’s have been at it, as the BBC reports:

“The widow and five children of Chile’s former military ruler, Gen Augusto Pinochet, have been arrested on charges of embezzlement.

They are accused of illegally transferring $27m (£13.2m) to foreign bank accounts during the general’s time in power between 1973 and 1990.

A judge ordered 17 other suspects to be held, including aides to Gen Pinochet.

Gen Pinochet died in December 2006 before he could stand trial on charges of corruption and human rights abuses.

More than 3,000 people were killed or “disappeared” during his military rule.

Pablo Rodriguez, the Pinochet family lawyer, said he was “astonished” by the decision, which he called “illegal and abusive”.

He expressed confidence the ruling would be reversed on appeal.

Aides implicated

Gen Pinochet’s 84-year-old widow, Lucia Hiriart, was taken to hospital with high blood pressure following her arrest.

However, Judge Carlos Cerda said there were “solid indications” the accused had “participated in the misuse of fiscal funds”.

Judge Cerda is investigating a case in which Gen Pinochet allegedly hid funds with the help of Washington-based Riggs bank.

Suspects include Gen Pinochet’s former personal secretary, Monica Ananias, and his lawyer Gustavo Collao.

At least three retired army generals – Jorge Ballerino, Guillermo Garin and Hector Letelier – were also charged.

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet said she would await the court’s decision “with calm”.

“No-one in Chile is above the law,” she said.

In 2004 a US Senate investigation found hundreds of bank accounts in the name of Pinochet and his relatives at the bank. He was being investigated for tax evasion, fraud and embezzlement in relation to those funds.

His immunity from prosecution was stripped in 2000, sparking years of legal wrangling to try to bring him to trial for alleged human rights abuses and tax fraud.

His lawyers said he was unable to defend himself for health reasons.

In 2006, Gen Pinochet died of a heart attack aged 91 while under house arrest.”

Augusto Pinochet escaped justice, hopefully that won’t be true for his embezzling family.

Written by modernityblog

05/10/2007 at 01:13

Posted in Uncategorized

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