The judge has also ordered the arrest of 17 others, including former aides and lawyers of the late leader. Among those ordered to be arrested were Monica Ananias, Pinochet's former personal secretary, Guillermo Garin, his former spokesman and Gustavo Collao, his lawyer.

Cerda is in charge of a case in which Pinochet allegedly stashed away more than $26m with the help of Riggs bank, based in Washington.

The case came to light in 2004 when hundreds of accounts in the name of Pinochet and his relatives where discovered during a US senate probe into the bank.

Al Jazeera's South American correspondent said: "Many thought that once Pinochet was dead, the case would be dropped, but it's actually turning out to be one of these 'better late than never' stories.

"We're seeing a much more decisive judiciary."

Evasion

In 2005, Pinochet was charged with tax evasion linked to the funds, hidden in more than 100 bank accounts outside of Chile.

Pinochet, whose 1973-1990 rule was marked by the torture and deaths of thousands of people, died in December at the age of 91 after suffering a heart attack.

He was under house arrest at the time.

His death ended years of efforts to bring him to justice for the killings of dissidents and the alleged embezzlement of state funds under his military government.

He avoided prosecution as his lawyers argued that dementia hindered his ability to defend himself.