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Last Updated: Saturday, 28 January 2006, 04:57 GMT
US sends back Pinochet daughter
Lucia Pinochet (file picture, 2005)
Ms Pinochet arrived in the US from Argentina
The eldest daughter of former Chilean military ruler Augusto Pinochet has been sent back to Argentina from the US two days after arriving there.

Lucia Pinochet had first asked for asylum after being detained in Washington on Wednesday, but later withdrew the request.

A Chilean judge has issued an international warrant for her arrest.

She is one of five members of Gen Pinochet's family to be charged with tax evasion - but denies wrongdoing.

Ms Pinochet, 60, was taken into custody after being denied entry at Washington's Dulles airport.

She had arrived from Argentina and was transferred to an immigration service detention centre while her position was assessed.

'Political persecution'

Ms Pinochet's son, Rodrigo Garcia, told reporters earlier this week that his mother intended to return to Chile to clear her name.

Gen Pinochet's wife, Lucia Hiriart, after being granted bail
Gen Pinochet's wife was granted bail on Tuesday

Three of her siblings, her mother and Gen Pinochet have also been charged with tax fraud in connection with secret foreign bank accounts.

The other family members have been granted bail.

Ms Pinochet is said to have driven from Chile to Argentina on Sunday, the same day that reports about the possible arrest of the four Pinochet siblings and their mother appeared in the press.

According to the Chilean tax office, Lucia Pinochet has evaded $859,000 (480,000) in taxes.

One of Ms Pinochet's brothers, Marco Antonio, described the charges - which also include the use of false passports - as "political persecution" against the Pinochet family.

Foreign accounts

The investigation into the family's finances began in 2004, after a US Senate probe into Riggs Bank found that Gen Pinochet held secret accounts worth $8m there.

Further investigations found that the former ruler held more $26m in foreign accounts.

He is accused of failing to pay nearly $2.5m in taxes between 1980 and 2004, and is also being investigated for embezzlement of state funds.

The courts have stripped Gen Pinochet of the legal immunity he enjoys as a former president in several cases, including human rights ones, but he has yet to face trial.

See archive footage of Lucia Pinochet

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