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US bank to compensate Pinochet victims

[JURIST] Riggs National Bank [official website] has agreed to settle a Spanish lawsuit [AP report} by paying $9 million to some 3,300 victims of the Chilean regime of General Augusto Pinochet [Wikipedia profile]. Spanish courts and the US Justice Department had investigated Riggs for allegedly laundering money for Pinochet. Riggs also paid a $25 million fine [Washington Post story] in May 2004 for failing to follow money-laundering laws and failing to report suspicious transactions, that time between Equitorial Gineau and Saudi Arabia. Riggs' continued legal woes has hurt them in their recent bid to merge with Pittsburgh-based PNC Bank. That merger is still on, but Riggs accepted an $5-per-share reduction [Finfacts story], saving PNC over $120 million over their original buyout offer.

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