Thursday, March 26, 2009

Heirs try to Re-gain Assets they Stole over 20 Years ago

"Now we've got all of madame's requisites and all in madame's size
Madame's taste is truly exquisite she must accessorize
The belts are alligator the bags are kangaroo
Enchante, may I say, the jade was made for you."

written by Mark Knopfler

The heirs of the late president Ferdinand Marcos are taking steps to regain assets seized during a military revolt that toppled his 20-year reign. The family has restored its political clout and are trying to recoup assets that were taken as ill-gotten gains. The Marcos amassed a fortune that was estimated to be from $5 to 10 billion during their years in power.

Imelda Marcos' extravagant lifestyle reportedly included five-million-dollar shopping sprees in New York, Rome and Copenhagen in 1983. They owned a number of properties in Manhattan in the 1980s. Her New York real estate was later seized and sold, along with much of her 20 million jewelry collection and most of her 175 piece art collection, which included works by Michelangelo and Botticelli. She responded to criticisms of her extravagance by claiming that it was her "duty" to be "some kind of light, a star to give [the poor] guidelines."

Imelda, whose lavish lifestyle was widely viewed as contributing to her husband's downfall, sued Presidential Commission on Good Government's officials for graft and fraud. Her complaint is the takeover since 1986, allegedly without proper accounting, of $42.6 million worth of family-owned assets.

PCGG officials however say the assets were not confiscated but rather "surrendered" to them by a self-confessed Marcos crony, businessman Jose Campos, in exchange for immunity from civil and criminal suits. Campos had admitted that he acted as a front for the Marcoses in acquiring the properties.

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