/ 4 October 2007

Chile judge orders arrest of Pinochet family

A Chilean judge on Thursday ordered the arrest of the widow and five children of late dictator Augusto Pinochet as part of an investigation into allegations of corruption, judicial sources said.

Judge Carlos Cerda also ordered the arrest of several retired military officers from the Pinochet era, and the sources said arrest warrants had also been issued for other friends and associates of the former dictator.

”This is a judicial decision … The courts have ordered the arrests and they are being carried out,” Interior Minister Felipe Harboe told reporters. ”The government has no further comment.”

Pinochet, who ruled Chile from 1973 to 1990, died last year without ever being brought to trial to face embezzlement and human rights charges.

The year before he died he was charged with tax evasion linked to an estimated $27-million hidden in more than 100 bank accounts outside of Chile. He was also being investigated for fraud and embezzlement related to that money, which was frozen pending court cases. — Reuters