It’s official. Don’t mess with the taxman, anytime, anywhere.
Former Chilean military ruler Gen. Augusto Pinochet has been placed under house arrest at his residence in Santiago, Chile, on charges of, among other things, tax evasion. Chalk one up for Chile’s Inland Revenue, which now joins the ranks of the Internal Revenue Service in bringing down bad guys a la Al Capone when other law enforcement agencies couldn’t quite nab them.
Chilean officials issued charges against Pinochet earlier this year, alleging that between 1980 and 2004 he failed to pay $2.4 million in taxes. Since then, Chilean courts have been hearing Pinochet appeals, primarily as to whether the aging military strongman is physically and mentally fit to stand trial. On a case-by-case basis, he has been losing those appeals and last week prosecutors declared him fit to stand trial after examinations by psychiatrists. As Pinochet loses his immunity from prosecution efforts, it also means he might finally face legal proceedings sought by the families of Chileans who “disappeared” under his 17-year regime.
Pinochet also is accused of hiding another $27 million in overseas bank accounts under false names. One of those banks that harbored the allegedly illegal accounts was the now defunct Riggs Bank in Washington, D.C. When we lived in the nation’s capital, we had an account there. Maybe we were persuaded to put our substantially smaller assets into Riggs because we liked feeling, as its advertising claimed, like we were a part of “the most important bank in the most important city in the world.” Or maybe we just found its branches and ATMs were the most convenient to where we worked and lived.
Seven years after moving from D.C., we still have a pack of Riggs checks, kept primarily because they had nice images of the city on them. Hmmm … I wonder what an eBay bid would bring?