A U.S. Senate investigation may have accomplished what several civilian governments in Chile couldn't -- uncover evidence of wrongdoing by former dictator Augusto Pinochet that could lead to his punishment. A Senate report recently found that Pinochet, who ruled Chile with an iron fist for 17 years, hid as much as $8 million in secret accounts and offshore companies set up by Washington-based Riggs Bank (RIGS) from 1994 to 2002. Now, Pinochet, 88, faces investigation by the Chilean Congress and tax authorities. News of the accounts shocked Chileans because the retired Army general had always maintained a noncorrupt image -- despite the tortures, murders, and disappearances of political opponents during his rule. In May, a Santiago court stripped Pinochet's presidential immunity. That clears the way for a possible trial on human-rights or tax-evasion charges -- if Chile's Supreme Court rules he's mentally and physically fit enough.
EDITED BY Edited by Rose Brady