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Senate report says US banks helped Pinochet conceal wealth

[JURIST] Riggs Bank [official website], Citigroup [official website], Bank of America [official website] and six other banks helped former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet [BBC profile] create a secret network of accounts to hide assets from US examiners and international prosecutors, according to a report released Tuesday by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI) [official website]. The new report concludes that Riggs' relationship with Pinochet was far more extensive than previously believed. A July 2004 PSI report [PDF text] revealed that Riggs managers worked with Pinochet from 1994 to 2002 to set up phony offshore companies to hide assets. However, after additional investigation, PSI reports that Riggs' relationship with Pinochet began in 1979 and included 28 accounts and certificates of deposit at the bank. In January, Riggs pleaded guilty to money laundering charges [JURIST report] and last month agreed to compensate victims [JURIST report] of Pinochet's regime. The new PSI report also implicates several other US banks as enabling Pinochet to hide $13 million from investigators. Citigroup reportedly opened 63 accounts and CDs for Pinochet. Citigroup has said that Pinochet opened the accounts "with false documentation using pseudonyms" and that the Pinochet accounts were shut down nearly 10 years ago. AP has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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