Pinochet Tied to Cocaine Trade
Chilean ex-dictator said to have over US$27 million in secret foreign accounts
Email Article  Print Article Antonio Jose Lopez Rengifo (proyecto)    
Juan Manuel Contreras, who was the head of the Chilean National Intelligence Directorate (DINA in Spanish) accused ex-ruler Augusto Pinochet of getting rich from the cocaine trade during a trial presided over by Chilean Prosecutor Claudio Pavez, the Chilean newspaper La Nacion reported late Sunday, July 9.

The DINA was the secret police of dictator Pinochet, who ruled Chile from 1973 to 1990. The DINA and its members are accused of human rights abuses at home and abroad, such as the 1974 assassination of former Chilean Army Chief Carlos Prats in Argentina, and the 1976 assassination of the ex-Chilean Chancellor Orlando Letelier in Washington D.C.

Contreras, who is serving a sentence in the Chilean Penal Cordillera prison because of human rights violations, sent a statement in writing a week ago to prosecutor Pavez in which he revealed that Pinochet's fortune is due to cocaine-trade activities and the misuse of the Chilean Army's reserve funds.

Pavez is prosecuting the case of Gerardo Hurber, a Chilean army officer and DINA member who was murdered in February 1992 in the Chilean capital Santiago with a shot in the head.

Hurber, who was investigated for arms smuggling to Croatia in 1991, was also a close friend to Contreras. Hurber had linked Pinochet and his family to trafficking of arms and drugs during the arms-smuggling-to-Croatia investigation.

Moreover, Contreras's accusation reaffirm and revealed for the first time in writing since Chile's transition to democracy not only the enrichment of Pinochet and his family because of the cocaine trade, but also the fabrication of the cocaine in the Chilean Army's chemical complex in Talagante, 40 km. southwest of Santiago City.

The accusation involved the Pinochet's younger son Marco Antonio, chemist Eugenio Berrios (an ex-DINA member murdered in 1993), businessman Edgardo Bathich, and the Syrian arms and drug trafficker Monser Al Kassar, who has also been linked to international terrorism.

According to the accusation, the Chilean Army complex was built in the 1980s to manufacture a kind of cocaine known as "Black" or "Russian" cocaine, which is very difficult to detect by drug-sniffing dogs. The fabrication of the cocaine was authorized by Pinochet.

The drug was sent to the U.S. and Europe, where Al Kassar distributed it and then sent the profits to several foreign accounts held by Pinochet.


Pinochet's younger son, Marco Antonio, denied the accusation and filed a libel lawsuit against Contreras.

The current Chilean Army Chief Oscar Izurieta dismissed the accusation, saying, "The only truth is the judicial truth and what the courts determine."

Pinochet's lawyer Pablo Rodriguez described the accusation as an intent to destroy the historical image of Pinochet and his past military rule.

Contreras's lawyer Fidel Reyes said "He (Contreras) has never said anything but the truth."

Pinochet's fortune

After a 2004 U.S. Senate investigation found Pinochet's secret account in the U.S.-based Riggs Bank, the Chilean authorities made their own investigation and the Chilean Prosecutor Carlos Cerda found out that Pinochet has secret foreign accounts estimated at over US$27 millions in U.S., Europe and tax havens worldwide.

2006/07/13 오전 8:30
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