Chilean Court Orders Arrests of Pinochet's Kin and Close Allies

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A Chilean judge on Thursday ordered the arrests of the widow and five children of Gen. Augusto Pinochet and 17 of his closest military and civilian collaborators on charges of misappropriating public funds.

Although charges relating to tax fraud had been brought against his wife and son and two other associates earlier, it was the first time that such a large group of his inner circle had faced such charges.

In a 60-page ruling, Judge Carlos Cerda said the 23 people benefited from at least $20 million withdrawn from discretionary funds allotted to the presidency, the office of the commander in chief, and the Casa Militar, a body created in 1981 that consisted of the dictator’s closest advisers. Judge Cerda stated that the funds were transferred to private accounts abroad, often under imprecise or false names.

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