Chile says daughter of Augusto Pinochet detained in Washington

The older daughter of former dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet was detained Wednesday on arrival in Washington after failing to obey a summons by a Chilean judge who indicted her on tax evasion charges, the government reported.

Lucia Pinochet "was the target of an international arrest warrant issued by a Chilean judge" and "was held at an airport in the city of Washington," said presidential spokesman Osvaldo Puccio. The daughter apparently traveled by land to neighboring Argentina on Sunday, hours before she was due to appear with other relatives to be served notice of her indictment on charges of tax evasion and for using a false passport. From Argentina, she reportedly flew to Washington.

Also indicted by judge Carlos Cerda in the case were Pinochet's wife, also named Lucia, and grown children Veronica, Jacqueline and Marco Antonio. Charges were also filed against Marco Antonio's wife and a lawyer and a secretary for Pinochet. They're all free on bail. Pinochet's older son, Also named Augusto, was charged only with using a false passport.

Lucia Pinochet, the daughter, was the only of those charged that dodged receipt of the judge's summon.

Marco Antonio Pinochet denied the family committed any crime, and said "but we will only talk once we are given the chance to defend ourselves."

And his brother Augusto said his father "is a very old man and feels this is his fault, although is not."

"He feels pain because it's his family that is being affected," he told the Santiago daily Las Ultimas Noticias.

Cerda issued the indictments of Pinochet's relatives as part of his investigation into the multimillion dollar accounts owned by the former dictator at overseas banks.

Investigators say the defendants together evaded 1.08 billion pesos (US$2.05 million, 1.72 million euros) in taxes, reports the AP.

D.M.