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Tuesday, 16 October, 2001, 05:48 GMT 06:48 UK
Imelda Marcos faces arrest
Imelda Marcos
Imelda Marcos denies charges of corruption
A court in the Philippines has issued an arrest warrant for former Philippines first lady Imelda Marcos on charges of corruption.

The anti-graft court in Sandiganbayan said the warrant would be served on the 72-year-old widow of the country's late president Ferdinand Marcos on Tuesday.

Mrs Marcos - who was granted bail of $2,500 - described the charges as harassment and told the BBC she had been relentlessly persecuted for the past 16 years.

Ferdinand Marcos
Ferdinand Marcos was overthrown in 1986
She faces four counts of holding Swiss bank accounts containing millions of illegally-acquired dollars under the names of several foundations.

The charges are part of a wider case alleging the Marcoses plundered the nation's economy between 1968 and 1986, when Mr Marcos was in power.

The Marcos family is also under investigation for human rights abuses.

But when the BBC's East Asia Today put it to Mrs Marcos on Tuesday that there was hard documentary evidence against her, she denied the charges.

"Absolutely not," she said. "Sixteen years have passed, this is beyond restrictive time."

She said there was no proof that she had stolen a single dollar.

Conviction quashed

The court in Sandiganbayan said the accounts in question were set up "for the benefit of the accused and her late husband, then-president Ferdinand Marcos and their children, with monies amounting to $231,366,894 as of 31 December, 1989".

Mrs Marcos was found guilty on corruption charges in the mid-1990s and sentenced to a minimum of 12 years in prison, but the conviction was overturned on appeal.

The Marcoses were overthrown in a popular revolt in 1986 and fled to Hawaii, where Ferdinand Marcos died three years later.

Mrs Marcos returned to the Philippines in 1991 when a ban against her was dropped.

The BBC's John Maclean
"Marcos is charged with misappropriating millions of dollars in public funds"
Imelda Marcos, talking to East Asia Today:
"Sixteen years have passed"
See also:

16 Feb 01 | Asia-Pacific
Homage to Imelda's shoes
31 Oct 00 | Asia-Pacific
The day I met Imelda Marcos
08 Dec 99 | Asia-Pacific
Philippines cult idolises Marcos
06 Oct 98 | Asia-Pacific
Imelda Marcos acquitted
04 Jul 99 | Asia-Pacific
Imelda Marcos turns 70 in style
03 Aug 01 | Asia-Pacific
Timeline: The Philippines
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