Federal court rejects Marcos appeal

Imelda Marcos at a monument to her late husband: the family tried to block inquiries into their finances Keystone

The Federal Court has thrown out an attempt by the family of former Philippines dictator, Ferdinand Marcos, to block the repatriation of disputed money in Swiss accounts.

This content was published on July 19, 2000 minutes

The court ruled that the Marcos family cannot invoke the statute of limitations to prevent disputed assets in Switzerland from being sent back to the Philippines.

The ruling came in response to an appeal by the brother-in-law of the secretary of Marcos's wife, Imelda. He was seeking to prevent the Zurich legal authorities from sending information to the Philippines on an account he holds through a Panama-registered company.

The account, which contains about SFr10 million ($6.2 million), has been frozen since 1986, when Marcos fled the Philippines to avoid being overthrown.

The court said that since Switzerland was merely offering Manila legal assistance in the case, Philippine law and not Swiss law was applicable. It noted that in a recent ruling, the Philippine Supreme Court said the state's right to claim the restitution of assets illegally acquired by state officials was not subject to a statute of limitations.

A total of SFr620 million has so far been transferred to the Philippines, where it remains blocked until the legal process against the Marcos family and its allies has been concluded.

The Zurich magistrate handling the case said SFr35 million remains frozen in Swiss accounts. Dieter Jann added that despite the Federal Court's ruling, it could be five to 10 years before the Swiss authorities finally close the final chapter of the Marcos saga.

After 13 years the Marcos affair is already by far the biggest investigation in the history of Swiss legal assistance.

swissinfo with agencies

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