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Pinochet's daughter back in Chile, out on bail

File photo of Lucia Pinochet, daughter of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet
Lucia Pinochet, daughter of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, shown in 1999, has been indicted on tax evasion charges.Stringer/chile / Reuters file
/ Source: Reuters

The oldest daughter of former dictator Augusto Pinochet was released on bail in a tax evasion case on Monday, two days after she returned home and withdrew a bid for political asylum in the United States.

A Santiago appeals court freed Lucia Pinochet Hiriart on $6,000 bail, court officials said.

Pinochet Hiriart, 60, arrived in Chile on Saturday, nearly a week after fleeing her country to avoid tax evasion charges. She had flown to Washington, where she was detained. She requested political asylum but later withdrew the request.

A Chilean judge has charged her with tax fraud linked to about $1 million in undeclared taxes and falsification of documents in a widening tax evasion and fraud investigation of the Pinochet family.

Prosecutors are investigating allegations Pinochet and his family hid millions of dollars outside of Chile.

The former general was charged last year with tax evasion on an estimated $27 million in previously undisclosed foreign bank accounts, which came to light after a U.S. Senate investigation into banking irregularities at the now-defunct Washington-based Riggs Bank.

Also on Monday, Switzerland said it moved closer to agreeing to a Chilean request for help in investigating bank accounts held by 90-year-old Pinochet.

A Justice Ministry spokesman said the ministry had handed Chile’s request for assistance to the Swiss Federal Tribunal, the country’s highest court, which will decide whether to set aside banking secrecy.

Spokesman Folco Galli called the move “a small step” in a process that began last March when a Chilean court requested Swiss bank details for their investigation into possible fraud, embezzlement and corruption.

Pinochet took power in Chile in a 1973 military coup that toppled elected socialist President Salvador Allende.