Chilean court orders to return $4.8m to Pinochet’s family

SANTIAGO – An amount of $4.8 million in cash and the assets frozen during a legal investigation are to be returned to the family of former military dictator Augusto Pinochet, a Chilean court decided Thursday.

In a split ruling that still could be appealed, an appeals court ordered “to return money and property seized from the family of Augusto Pinochet Ugarte” worth $4,894,638.

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The assets have been seized by the courts since the investigation of the so-called Riggs case in 2004.

In connection with the Riggs case, Pinochet was exonerated, as a former president. He was acquitted after his death, at 91, of a heart attack in 2006.

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The assets to be returned to the heirs of the Chilean ex-dictator who was in power from 1973 to 1990 are 24 properties, three vehicles and seven bank accounts, according to the ruling.

In the same decision, the court acquitted six retired army officers of misappropriating public funds, reversing a ruling handed down by Judge Manuel Valderrama in 2013.

Valderrama had condemned officers who served in the Chilean Military House and would have helped Pinochet to hide part of his fortune in Washington’s Riggs bank.