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Philippines asks for Switzerland's help in probing Marcos accounts

Are the missing Marcos millions in Switzerland?

(Keystone)

Authorities in the Philippines have formally requested Switzerland's help in investigating funds allegedly belonging to the late dictator, Ferdinand Marcos.

The Swiss government has been asked to look into whether Marcos' youngest daughter, Irene Marcos-Araneta, attempted to transfer $13 million from a UBS account in Switzerland to Germany.

The move follows a request earlier this month by the Philippines for Switzerland and Germany to freeze bank accounts thought to contain funds plundered by Marcos' family.

Both requests were reportedly made in response to a report in a Manila newspaper, which alleged that Araneta had tried to move the money to Germany.

The Swiss authorities said on Wednesday that they would formally consider the latest request before submitting it to an investigating magistrate in Zurich.

Earlier this month, the "Philippine Daily Inquirer" reported that Araneta and her husband tried to "launder" funds in a Marcos account held at UBS in Switzerland by transferring the money to Deutsche Bank in Germany.

The paper said the couple was unaware that the German authorities had been monitoring them as part of a money laundering investigation.

A statement released by German prosecutors said a woman using the name Irene Marcos-Araneta opened several accounts last month at a Dusseldorf branch of Deutsche Bank. The communiqué said she wanted to transfer large sums of money there.

However, the statement said that it was not immediately clear if the person who opened the account was Marcos' daughter.

If the account is found to be linked to Marcos' family, the Philippine government is expected to ask that all assets be transferred to an escrow account in Manila and that the bank documents be sent to the Philippines.

Switzerland has so far transferred more than $629 million from Marcos' Swiss bank accounts to an escrow account in Manila at the request of the Philippine authorities.

Marcos was ousted in a popular revolt in 1986 and went to live in exile in Hawaii. He died three years later. Subsequent governments have accused the Marcos family of illegally enriching themselves while in power.

swissinfo with agencies

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