Pinochet selling medals to pay expenses25/09/2006 - 17:18:14
Former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet has been selling some of the medals and diplomatic decorations he received in his political and military career to pay for personal expenses, a newspaper reported today.
Pinochet, 90, is facing economic difficulties because the judge investigating the source of his multi-million pound bank accounts abroad ordered his money frozen, El Mercurio reported.
He has not been able for several months to pay the electricity bill for one of his houses, the paper added.
A spokesman for Pinochet, retired Gen Guillermo Garin, expressed doubts about the report that Pinochet had been selling the items.
“I do not think that’s true,” Garin said.
According to the paper, wealthy businessmen who are admirers of Pinochet have bought the former general’s memorabilia to help him. Some buyers also ask to be photographed with Pinochet.
Pinochet receives a monthly pension of about €4,170.
Judge Carlos Cerda, who is trying to determine the source of up to €22.4m the former dictator accumulated in secret bank accounts abroad, indicted Pinochet on tax evasion charges and ordered his money frozen while the probe develops.
Pinochet’s lawyers insist the money comes from savings, donations and investments.
Pinochet also faces charges of human rights violations during his 1973-1990 dictatorship but previous efforts to try him have failed as charges have been dropped on health grounds. Pinochet suffers from mild dementia produced by several strokes, among other health problems, according to doctors.
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