This is old news, but one that I bet went underreported around the world in comparison with the initial news of the Pinochet family and associates enjailment.
Apparently the charges and the arrest were based on considering the members of the family and the inner circle of Pinochet government functionaries.
So, when the appeals judge determines that they aren’t government functionaries, he can’t hold them in prison.
La Nacion Domingo has an article explaining what went on. About two or three people have had charges that stick.
This brings up the mysterious question of why Cerda brought these charges, dedicated so many resources, etc… to making charges that within a couple days would be overturned…and actually quite simply.
Pretty lame Juez Cerda. Especially since when all this went down he was in the United States picking up a Justice award from the Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation. Here is the webcast.
So, long time coming. Even in ashes, Pinochet indicted. His inner, “iron,” circle, may feel effects of judicial decision.
The older folks, Ambrosio Rodriguez, and Lucia Hiriart de Pinochet, are in hospitals with declarations of illness.
Lets decipher the quick AP story of an hour or so ago. My comments in italics.
Pinochet Relatives Indicted in Chile
SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — The widow and five children of dictator Augusto Pinochet were among 23 people indicted Thursday on corruption charges, a judge said.
Judge Carlos Cerda said he ordered the detention of the 23 relatives and former associates of Pinochet because of “solid indications that they had participated in the misuse of fiscal funds” during Pinochet’s 1973-90 dictatorship.
The investigating judge, kind of like a judge and prosecutor, makes direct reference, in the 60 page decision, to the juggling of funds totaling around 23 million dollars that passed through bank accounts around the world, including Riggs Bank in Washington DC. This bank and the accounts held by Pinochet were investigated by the US Senate Investigative Commission in 2004, as part of an effort by the entity to check up on Patriot Act provisions which were supposed to crack down on the financial mechanisms which supported terrorism, and included within that figures like dictators.
The money is said to have come from a slush fund controlled by the military, and presumably was siphoned from over the years of the dicatorship. As a result, says the text, as I am citing from the La Nacion article on these events, they can get serious sentences and fines for essentially robbing from the state:
“un grupo de personas que durante años tuvo a su cargo fondos de gastos reservados pertenecientes al erario nacional, en depósito, los sustrajo, conducta sancionada por los artículos 233 N 3 y 238 inciso segundo del Código Penal, con la pena de presidio mayor en su grado medio, multa, inhabilitación absoluta temporal e inhabilitación absoluta perpetua para cargos y oficios públicos”
Pinochet’s widow Lucia Hiriart, two of his children and several other suspects had already been arrested, police director Arturo Herrera said.
Cerda was to decide whether to keep them detained during trial.
Those indicted included at least three retired army generals — Jorge Ballerino, Guillermo Garin and Hector Letelier — and other lower-ranking officers.
Ballerino and Garin were close confidents to Pinochet who served as his military attache’s in the United States during the dictatorship and played visibly documented roles in the manipulation of funds in the United States. In this case they were specifically accused of facilitating purchases of properties and moving money in and out of bank accounts in the Washington DC, New York City, Miami and the Virgin Islands.
Hector Guillermo Letelier Skinner is a retired colonel who was the economic brainchild in Pinochet’s military circle. He oversaw the privatization of state industries as a one-time head of the Corfo in the eighties, was head of the FAMAE, the government military munitions purchaser, the guy who helped create the first offshore corporations, called Belview, in the British Virgin Islands, to deposit the Pinochet funds. He also was the Latin American representative for an organization called Compulex, which, between 2001 and 2004, tried to lend more than $460 million dollars in funds from European banks to various consumers around the world. Most borrowers did not get their money, despite having paid up front fees of 1-2% of the loan amount, which varied from $500,000 dollars – $22 million dollars. It smelled like a money laundering scheme, but was never proven. But, Letelier was found guilty of illegally selling arms to Croatia, violating a UN-embargo set in place during the civil war in Yugoslavia.
Also indicted were Pinochet’s longtime secretary, Monica Ananias, and one of his lawyers, Ambrosio Rodriguez.
The identity of Monica Ananias was for a longtime a mystery, but it was revealed during the course of various investigations that she was the money-handler and would sign for receipt of CASH from bank’s in Chile, where the money referred to in the judge’s decision would finally end up.
Pinochet died in December 2006 at age 91 while under indictment on human rights and corruption charges.
Due to his death, the judge will not try Augusto Pinochet in absentia. (Sobresee su caso.)
For a more detailed understanding of the people on the inner circle who have been put in jail go to El Mercurio’s list .
The following information is found on La Nacion’s article on this issue. They would probably have the best coverage and sources on this, except for maybe El Mercurio, because they have an interest in defending the interests of the hands that feed them and have fed them. I think there coverage will be more interesting about what will happen in the future with the case, while La Nacion will give a better understanding of what got them there in the first place.
Below is the schematic used by Judge Cerda, who coincidently will be in Washington DC on Saturday to receive the Peter and Patricia Gruber Prize for their “Justice Prize.”
It tracks in flows and out flows of Pinochet money during his dictatorship, from 1973 to 1989, when he was the Commander in Chief, or head of the military, from 1989-1998, and when he receded into civilian life.
Below are some of the initial commentaries being bandied about on the La Nacion, a government newspaper’s website.