Chilean top court orders seizure of Pinochet assets
The decision settles a scandal known as the Riggs Bank case that delved into the origins of the late dictator’s fortune which were partly hidden in bank accounts under different names at American Riggs Bank and others, and suspected public funds embezzlement.
“His spouse and heirs cannot consider themselves owners in good faith... of the illicit origin of the assets,” according to the ruling as the assets would be returned to the Chilean state.
In 2017, an appeals court overturned the seizure of Pinochet’s assets. The court ruled that close to $5 million seized in 2004 at the case’s opening should be restored to his relatives.
Friday’s ruling partly invalidates that decision, but lets the Pinochet family keep most of the assets.
Three retired military personnel, which had been declared innocent by a previous ruling, were found guilty of misappropriation of public funds and sentenced to four years of jail.
Pinochet ruled Chile for 17 years beginning in 1973, during which more than 3,000 people were killed or went missing and tens of thousands were tortured. He died of a heart-attack at age 91 in 2006. ■