SANTIAGO, Chile – Former dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet was indicted and put under house arrest Wednesday on charges of tax evasion and corruption related to his multimillion-dollar overseas accounts, state television reported.
The indictment and arrest order issued by Judge Carlos Cerda were communicated to Pinochet by a court official at his suburban Santiago mansion, the report said.
It was the first time the retired general, who turns 90 on Friday, was indicted for charges not related to the massive human rights abuses during his 1973-90 dictatorship.
The decision by Cerda, however, does not guarantee that Pinochet will face a full trial. He has been indicted twice in the past on human rights charges, but the courts blocked the trials on health grounds.
Two other trial attempts were stopped for the same reason at earlier stages, and scores of other suits filed against him by relatives of victims of his regime are still pending.
Court-appointed doctors who examined Pinochet last month said that while he suffers from mild dementia and has other neurological problems, he is fit to stand trial. That report is disputed by his defense lawyer who was expected to appeal Cerda's ruling.
The charges against Pinochet include tax evasion, using a false passport to open an account abroad, submitting a false government document to a bank and filing a false report on his personal assets.