Monday, 24 August 2009

Chile/UK: Pinochet's Lost Millions

A good, if not particularly surprising, article in the Independent today about the UK connection to Pinochet's finances.

Two-and-a-half years after the death of General Augusto Pinochet, a report by the Chilean police task force charged with investigating money-laundering has claimed that British authorities and the financial sector were complicit in hiding his massive ill-gotten fortune.
Professor David Sugarman, the director of the Centre for Law and Society at Lancaster University and author of a forthcoming book on Pinochet's arrest and imprisonment, said yesterday: "It looks like some of the banks holding Pinochet's funds did not comply with the letter and spirit of their duties of disclosure, due diligence and the legal requirement to report suspicious circumstances."
Simple ruses were used to hide the fact that the banks were dealing with the Pinochet family fortune. Accounts were opened which were designated by any combination of his Christian names or initials – Augusto Jose Ramon – and the surnames of his father, Pinochet, or his mother, Ugarte, and those of his wife, Lucia Hiriart Rodriguez. Some bankers preferred to call him Joe (from Jose), or APU (Augusto Pinochet Ugarte). The practice made the tracing of information about him as difficult as, say, looking for Griff Rhys Jones under "Jones" or Iain Duncan Smith under "Smith". Various accounts were labelled merely "L Hiriart and/or AP Ugarte".

Pinochet's lost millions: the UK connection (The Independent)

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