Arrest order for Pinochet family

Other News Materials 4 October 2007 21:02

( BBC ) - A Chilean judge has ordered the arrest of five children and the widow of former military ruler Augusto Pinochet on charges of embezzlement.

The warrants were among 23 issued as part of a corruption investigation into state funds held in US bank accounts.

Gen Pinochet, who ruled Chile from 1973 to 1990, died in December 2006 before he could stand trial on charges of corruption and human rights abuses.

More than 3,000 people were killed or "disappeared" during his military rule.

Gen Pinochet's widow, Lucia Hiriart, two of his children and several of the other suspects had already been arrested, police director Arturo Herrera told AP news agency.

Other suspects include Gen Pinochet's former personal secretary, Monica Ananias, and his lawyer Gustavo Collao.

At least three retired army generals - Jorge Ballerino, Guillermo Garin and Hector Letelier - were also indicted.

Judge Carlos Cerda said there were "solid indications" the accused had "participated in the misuse of fiscal funds".

The judge is investigating a case in which Gen Pinochet allegedly hid more than $25 million with the help of Washington-based Riggs bank.

Chilean Interior Minister Felipe Harboe said the arrest order was a judicial decision but declined further comment.