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Last Updated: Friday, 1 October, 2004, 17:54 GMT 18:54 UK
Pinochet faces tax evasion charge
General Augusto Pinochet
Pinochet was president of Chile from 1974 to 1990
Chile's Inland Revenue office has filed a lawsuit against former Chilean President Augusto Pinochet, accusing him of tax evasion.

The accusations are linked to allegations that Gen Pinochet, who ruled Chile for 17 years, hid millions of dollars in secret bank accounts.

Gen Pinochet and his family deny theft of public funds while in office.

The tax agency's complaint is based on the law against making false or incomplete returns, a spokesman said.

"The Internal Tax Service ... as a result of an administrative investigation ... filed a complaint against Augusto Pinochet and his (financial advisor) Oscar Aiken," a tax agency statement quoted by Reuters said.

Hidden assets

Allegations of secret bank accounts surfaced in May when a US Senate report said the Washington-based Riggs bank helped Gen Pinochet hide up to $8m and avoid efforts to seize his assets.

1973: Leads coup against left-wing President Salvador Allende
1988: Loses plebiscite on rule
1990: Steps down as president
1998: Retires as army commander-in-chief. Arrested in UK at Spain's request
2000: Allowed to return to Chile
2004: Supreme Court strips his legal immunity

Between 1994 and 2002, the US Senate report said, Riggs helped Gen Pinochet set up offshore front companies and open accounts in the names of those companies to disguise his control of the accounts.

The allegations were followed up by a Chilean judge who questioned Mr Pinochet about the charges in August.

The judge launched investigations through the country's tax, banking and security agencies.

According to Chile's La Nacion newspaper, Gen Pinochet could now face a fine amounting to 300% of the tax evaded and a sentence of up to five years in prison.

On Thursday, the general underwent medical tests to see if he is mentally fit to face trial for human rights abuses.

These accusations relate to an alleged campaign by several South American dictatorships in the 1970s and 1980s to kill their opponents.

Pinochet denies links to killings
28 Sep 04  |  Americas
Pinochet quizzed on bank accounts
21 Aug 04  |  Americas
'Pinochet' bank to be sold
16 Jul 04  |  Business
US bank 'hid Pinochet millions'
15 Jul 04  |  Americas
Chile strips Pinochet of immunity
26 Aug 04  |  Americas
Analysis: Shock at Pinochet ruling
28 May 04  |  Americas

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