Bonds News

Chile sues Miami bank branches over Pinochet funds

SANTIAGO, March 13 (Reuters) - Chile filed suit against the Miami branches of four banks this week for allegedly hiding parts of the illicit fortune accrued by former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet during his 17-year reign.

Sources in Chile's government prosecutors' office said on Friday the banks being targeted by the law suit -- filed on Tuesday -- included Banco de Chile CHI.SN, Spain's Banco Santander SAN.MC, U.S.-based PNC Financial Services PNC.N, which acquired Washington, D.C.-based Riggs Bank, and Portugal's Banco Espirito Santo BES.LS.

The sources provided no further details.

Pinochet died in December 2006 at the age of 91 without facing a full trial for crimes committed during his 1973-90 dictatorship, when around 3,000 people were killed and another 28,000 were tortured -- most of them suspected leftists.

The year before he died, Pinochet was charged with tax evasion linked to an estimated $27 million and was also being investigated for fraud and embezzlement related to that money, which was frozen pending court action.

In October 2007 his widow and five children were arrested as part of an investigation into the public funds, but were later released. (Reporting by Erik Lopez; Writing by Pav Jordan; Editing by Eric Walsh)