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Friday, 1 February, 2002, 12:10 GMT
Philippines loses out on Marcos millions
Imelda Marcos
Ferdinand Marcos died in exile in Hawaii in 1989
A Philippine court has rejected a government claim to more than $600m allegedly deposited in Swiss bank accounts by the late President Ferdinand Marcos.

Judges sitting in the Sandiganbayan anti-corruption court voted 3-2 that the government had not established a "basis for the forfeiture" of the funds.

The government alleges the Marcos family plundered the nation's economy of up to $10bn between 1968 and 1986, when Mr Marcos was in power.

They are alleged to have set up fake foundations and used the Swiss banking system to mask their activities.

Ruling

The court said the government had not proven the Marcos family controlled the money and therefore could not confiscate it as illegally obtained.

"It could easily happen that under Swiss law, the foundations legally own the funds, and the Marcoses are even now merely beneficiaries thereof, if at all," the ruling read.

The deposed president's widow Imelda Marcos is also charged with violating the constitution while she was cabinet minister and head of a foundation in the 1980s.

And the Marcos family is also under investigation for human rights abuses.

Mrs Marcos has pleaded not guilty to all the charges, which she describes as government harassment.

No convictions

The former first lady 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.

Correspondents say no allies or relatives of Marcos have been jailed for corruption amid widespread suspicions that the Marcos camp has even more money stashed abroad.

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

See also:

03 Dec 01 | Asia-Pacific
Imelda Marcos free to travel abroad
16 Oct 01 | Asia-Pacific
Imelda Marcos faces arrest
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
03 Aug 01 | Asia-Pacific
Timeline: The Philippines
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