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Federal court rejects bid to block Swiss legal help to Philippines

Switzerland's highest court has thrown out an appeal by an associate of former Philippines dictator, Ferdinand Marcos, to prevent the Swiss authorities from extending legal assistance to Manila.

In its ruling on Wednesday, the court said the statute of limitations does not prevent legal cooperation between Switzerland and the Philippines.

The official, who was not named, was seeking to block the handover of bank documents to the Philippines.

The decision comes four months after the court threw out an attempt by a member of the Marcos family to block the repatriation of disputed money in Swiss accounts.

Wednesday's ruling concerned a former board member of the Philippine Coconut authority, who officials say siphoned off funds from an official coconut levy, with Marcos's blessing.

Philippine officials say the money was paid into the Zurich branch of a foundation based in Liechtenstein. The account now holds about $12 million (SFr21.5 million).

The Philippines has been investigating the financial affairs of Marcos, his family and associates since he was ousted in a popular uprising in 1986. He is accused of illegally amassing a fortune worth billions during his 20-year-rule.

In 1998, Switzerland began handing over money deposited in Switzerland by the Marcos family. Since then, it has handed over about $632 million.

Individual cases involving Marcos associates are still pending. Some $34 million has been frozen in Swiss bank accounts as the investigations continue.

swissinfo with agencies

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