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Last Updated: Monday, 2 August, 2004, 22:52 GMT 23:52 UK
Court halts Pinochet assets probe
General Pinochet in 2000
Gen Pinochet was recently stripped of immunity from prosecution
A court in Chile has suspended a probe into the financial affairs of former leader Augusto Pinochet.

A judge ordered the inquiry after lawyers demanded his assets be seized in case he is ordered to compensate people who suffered during his rule.

Their claims were prompted by a report alleging Gen Pinochet hid up to $8m.

But the appeals court ruled the same judge has already unsuccessfully tried to put the former military ruler on trial for human rights abuses.

Judge Juan Guzman had been investigating Gen Pinochet's part in political killings carried out after the 1973 coup, in what became known as the Caravan of Death.

Court actions

The inquiry was prompted by a US Senate report alleging that a US-based bank helped Gen Pinochet hide up to $8m and evade seizure of his assets.

Last month, Judge Guzman ordered police to examine his personal finances.

Another judge, Sergio Munoz, is leading two other investigations after accusations that the former president was guilty of fraud and bribery as well as money laundering.

The Court of Appeals recently stripped Gen Pinochet of immunity from prosecution, a move that paved the way for a trial on charges of human rights abuses during his 1973-1990 rule.

Previous attempts to prosecute him for human rights abuses were dismissed on medical grounds.

The Senate report alleges the Riggs Bank set up several accounts for Gen Pinochet while he was under house arrest in the UK on charges of crimes against humanity.

He was held in Britain in 1998 after Spain requested his extradition on torture charges, but was allowed home in 2000 after he was judged too ill to stand trial.




SEE ALSO:
Judge to probe Pinochet finances
21 Jul 04  |  Americas
'Pinochet' bank to be sold
16 Jul 04  |  Business
US bank 'hid Pinochet millions'
15 Jul 04  |  Americas
Court lifts Pinochet's immunity
28 May 04  |  Americas
Timeline: Chile
25 May 04  |  Country profiles


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